OFFICIALS at a borough council have issued an urgent plea to residents after hedgehogs were killed with rat poisons in West Wellow.

Numerous reports of the animals being poisoned in Gazing Lane were received by Test Valley Borough Council during the last week.

The borough council said that as well as the suspected poisoning, there were comments on social media which suggested that a dog had been inadvertently poisoned, although it was not fatal.

It believes that rodenticides nearby may been the cause of the hedgehogs’ deaths.

Portfolio holder for housing and environmental health, councillor Phil Bundy, said: “It is very important that householders who use rodenticide poisons outdoors to control rats on their premises follow the supplier’s instructions for use very carefully.

“This is because poisons intended to eradicate rats and mice may also be harmful to non-pest wildlife, including domestic pets and hedgehogs.

“The issue isn’t specific to this area and residents across the borough should ensure they take the correct precautions when using poisons to ensure that other wildlife is not adversely affected.

“Hedgehogs have already experienced a difficult few months with the prolonged dry spell over the summer, so I would urge people to guard against inadvertently causing any harm when seeking to prevent or get rid of rats or mice.”

Besides being directly toxic to the mammals that ingest them, including dogs, cats, and humans, many rodenticides present a secondary poisoning risk to animals that hunt or scavenge the dead corpses of rats.

A spokesperson from the RSPCA science team added: "Rodenticide could pose a threat to hedgehogs or any other wild animal they come in contact with; in simple terms, the poisons act by disrupting the blood clotting process- the bodies’ normal repair process-, causing haemorrhage and eventually killing the animal by blood loss and associated effects.

"However, users of rodenticide are legally required to take all reasonable precautions to prevent access to the poison by domestic and non-target wild animals as well as children."

There are a number of things you can do to make your garden safer for to hedgehogs:

- Hedgehog corridors: Hedgehogs travel on average a mile a day and may be impeded by walls and fences. You can help by using fencing with gaps, removing a brick from the wall, cutting a hole in your fence or digging a tunnel underneath.

- Hedgerows: Swapping your wall or fencing for hedgerows provides a route in and out of your garden, as well as shelter for wildlife.

- Log or leaf piles: Provide shelter for nesting mothers, young hoglets and hibernating hedgehogs, plus as havens for invertebrates for hedgehogs to eat.

Ponds: Provide a natural source of water and attract invertebrates for hedgehogs to eat. Make sure you slope the edges of the pond so that hedgehogs can climb out if they fall in!

- Hedgehog homes: Plans for building a hedgehog house can be found at and

Anyone concerned about rats on their property can contact Test Valley Borough Council’s pest control team on 01264 368000 or 01794 527700.

Further information can be found on the council’s website.