The HEDGEHOGS of a Newport wildlife enthusiast will make their debut television appearance this evening on Sir David Attenborough’s latest series.
Duncan Richardson has transformed his his 10m x 10m garden on a Rogerstone housing estate into a hedgehog’s haven, which has now attracted the attention of Sir David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities.
Last year, Mr Richardson recorded a total of 36 different hedgehogs coming through the garden.
“We don’t know why we do quite so well. We have no idea,” he said.
The garden is rigged with a series of infra-red cameras which are connected via live feed to his house and the blog. The footage is monitored each night.
His blog – The Lilac Grove: Tales of a Suburban Garden, previously attracted BBC’s Autumn watch, who came and filmed in the garden for five nights.
“From that came this new series. They were looking for people with hedgehogs and the film company put them in touch with me.”
The self-taught ‘hedgehog carer’ said: “I monitor their health. There are certain ones that won’t survive winter so I bring them in and then re-release them in the spring.”
It was some of these rescued hedgehogs which will be featuring on tonight’s episode.
“I had some hedgehogs ready to be released so we took them to where they were filing to join Sir David Attenborough.”
The filming took place in April of last year. Mr Richardson met Sir David and was able to chat to him about the hedgehogs. He said: “It was really strange to be answering his questions.”
Each episode of the second series features two creatures that, while different from one another, share a ‘distinctive evolutionary quirk’.
Mr Richardson’s hedgehogs feature in the “Armoured Animals” episode, which looks at both hedgehogs and rhinos. A seven foot hedgehog was installed on Clapham Common in London over the weekend to promote the new series.
Mr Richardson is a guitar teacher by trade and had taught himself all he knows about wildlife. He said: “I’ve always been interested in wildlife. I’m an avid naturalist.”
Mr Richardson is currently over-wintering 12 hoglets who were not at hibernation weight when winter arrived. These will be released back to the wild soon.
Each hog is named, identified and can be seen on the blog. His garden is designed specifically for wildlife, with log piles, a pond, nest boxes, wildflowers and so-called 'bug hotels'.
Mr Richardson has also been selected to be one of the local patch reporters for the BBC Wildlife magazine, the only reporter representing Wales.
The episode airs on Watch tonight at 8.30pm. Visit Mr Richardson’s blog at www.lilacgrove.co.uk