More than 796,000 people have signed a petition calling for “hedgehog highways” to be included in building plans.
The hedgehog – one of Britain’s most loved mammals – is in danger of being wiped out.
Over the last 50 years its population has fallen from 30 million to fewer than one and a half million.
The hedgehog has not only become a victim of intensive farming with chemicals, but of garden fences.
Too many houses have fenced back gardens stopping hedgehogs roaming freely throughout the night as they look for food.
Hugh Warwick, of Hedgehog Watch, started the petition.
“Repeated studies have shown that the nation’s favourite animal is being wiped out.
“But there is something we can do to save them.
“A key cause of them dying out is that our landscapes are being fenced off into ever smaller fragments.
“We need to make sure new housing developments include ‘hedgehog highways’ – a 13 cm hole in the bottom of a fence that allows hedgehogs to move freely between gardens to find food and find a mate.
“This simple move would have a big impact on the UK’s hedgehogs – and it’s cheap and easy for developers to carry out.”
The petition calls upon the Government and Housing Minister Robert Jenrick to ensure all new builds have a hedgehog highway.
The “road” system, connecting gardens, will create the pathways they need to survive.
Janet Peto of Hedgehog Welfare said:
“With gardens becoming more important to hedgehogs as their natural habitat, wildlife highways are becoming essential.
“Hedgehogs need to wander freely from garden to garden, searching for natural food.
“They also need to be able to find a mate if they are to survive.”
Hedgehog Welfare, based in the East Midlands, has seen a record number of ill and distressed animals brought in during the hot spell.
Janet said: “I’ve been taking up to 40 calls a day from people who’ve found hogs in trouble.
“They’re usually suffering from dehydration.
“Our carers have been working non-stop to try to save them.
“However, a couple of simple things can be done to help.
“Each night before you go to bed, scatter a few kitten biscuits on patios and leave out a bowl of fresh clean water.”
Hedgehog Welfare nurses hundreds of hedgehogs back to strength before returning them to the wild.
The petition can be found at: