How you can help and encourage our prickly pals in your garden!
Sadly, our native hedgehogs are in decline. There is a lot of contributing factors causing this, busy roads, environment changes and use of pesticides to name a few. However, the good news is you can help by making some small changes in your garden to encourage heggies to visit. Naturally, hedgehogs hibernate around October/November until March but this depends on the weather, temperature and the hedgehogs weight. If they weigh less than 450grams (1lb) they may not survive hibernation. Below are just some of things you can do to give these adorable critters a helping hand!
- Put out some food. Hedgehogs are most definitely a gardeners friend because they love nothing more than munching on slugs and other invertebrates, but they will relish some additional grub. Tinned cat or dog food (that isn’t fish based) some crushed dog or dog kibble is fine. You can buy specialist hedgehog food, specifically designed for the species. Water is essential, is a low sided dish but please don’t offer milk as this gives them diarrhoea.
- Make a hedgehog house. You can make this by placing a board against a wall, a lean to! Fill it with leaf litter or some straw and this will attract a hedgehog to nest.
- Leave part of your garden ‘wild’. Being too tidy means there’s not enough insects for hedgehogs to feed on plus it gives them cover to trundle around as they would in more rural areas.
- Cover drains or holes. It’s not uncommon for people to call us to rescue little heggies who have fallen into uncovered pipes etc and are stuck.
- Place a ramp in your pond. By making a slope accessible in your pond means any hedgehog who takes a tumble can get out easily.
- Found a sick or injured hedgehog? You can ring 0300 1234 999 for advice. Alternatively, the quickest way to get the poorly hedgehog help is to contact a local vet.
At this time of year, bonfires are popular, not just for celebrations but for people getting rid of garden waste. If you make a bonfire, please check it for hedgehogs and other animals (frogs and toads) before lighting. Better still, move the pile before you set it alight, that way, you will disturb anything that has decided to nestle down inside it.