When young animals roam the Stuttgart parks, they often endanger their lives. Because robotic lawn mowers move in many characteristics. And it does not stop even at the feet of children, as a recent test showed.
The sun is shining and they are already buzzing in all the gardens: lawn mowers. Obsessed gardeners don’t even have to bother themselves. In many characteristics, robotic lawn mowers make their own tracks and reliably guarantee a neat short lawn. But practical devices have a downside that most owners may not realize. They are dangerous to small animals such as hedgehogs, reptiles or amphibians.
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“The hedgehog doesn’t run away when the lawn mower comes in automatically, it just flips over,” says Claudia Wild, press officer at Naboo in Baden-Württemberg. Sharp knives can flip the animal or, in the case of the little ones, completely flip it over and rip it off. However, gardeners can’t be sure if this hasn’t already happened to them: “The infected hedgehog retreats into the bush and dies there,” Wilde says. She cautions against leaving robotic lawn mowers unattended or even driving at night if they must be used at all. Because nocturnal animals do not hear almost silent robots in time. But also during the day there are hungry animals who did not find enough for themselves at night.
In terms of safety, robotic lawn mowers perform poorly
Stiftung Warentest also rates robotic lawn mowers as “adequate” at best in terms of safety. In the most recent test, dolls for babies’ arms and feet were put in the way of the devices. Every device ran on the doll, or at least hit it. That’s why manufacturers also recommend that robotic lawn mowers be used only in areas that are closed to children and pets. But the natural inhabitants of the park are rarely taken into account. Brush cutters and brush cutters can also be fatal to garden animals, as they are used under hedges and shrubs where the animals seek refuge and hide.
Wilder Gardens allow for a diversity of flora and fauna
“Mowing the lawn all the time doesn’t make sense anyway,” Wilde pleads with gardeners. Robots will only create “green deserts” that do not provide animals with any food or shelter. This is not really the purpose of creating a garden. “The birds are currently in the breeding season. But they can no longer find any food for their offspring,” Wilde gives another example. She herself was also much more conservative in her garden than before. “Those who give nature a chance will be greatly rewarded. Diversity in plants. Instead of working in the garden all the time, I now enjoy wild bees, honeybees, lizards, and butterflies,” she says of her own experiences.
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Her advice: Just mow the lawn where you move, leave some dead wood as shelter and provide insects and birds with a place to drink with small watering holes. If the greenery is cut back once or twice a year, the wildflowers will take root on their own. These include the different types of alfalfa, dandelion, sage meadow or meadow margaret. You can also make a small contribution with a weed swirl, a bird’s nest box, a nesting aid for beetles, or a perennial bed. “The species are disappearing. Every garden area is important,” Wilde emphasizes.
Manual labor instead of fully automated robots
However, Claudia Wilde also understands that there can be reasons to keep the lawn somewhat short, for example the fear of ticks. So if you really want to keep the wild growth in your garden in check, you should proceed with caution, advises Nabu. So thoughtful and meticulous manual labor should replace fully automatic mowing robots. Concerned gardeners should be especially careful under hedges so as not to harm sleeping hedgehogs. The photos show hedgehogs being hit in the nose, feet or spines by robotic lawnmowers. “No one can really want to,” Claudia Wilde says.