It’s around that time of year when hedgehogs start visiting our gardens looking for food and a good place to hibernate.
Evidence shows that hedgehogs are declining in Britain but fortunately we know a few ways of how you can help look after hedgehogs in your garden, after all, hedgehogs are a gardener’s friend as they love to eat snails, slugs and other insects.
Make a Hedgehog Home
If you have been creating compost piles or collecting fallen leaves from around the garden, it’s more than likely going to attract hedgehogs as they like to make nests out of leaf litter and logs which is great as this will also home slugs, beetles and other invertebrates that hedgehogs like to eat.
You can buy homes for hedgehogs, but we found making one to be much more fun.
What to Feed Hedgehogs
Feeding and knowing what to feed hedgehogs will encourage them to return. It’s best to leave out foods like tinned dog or cat food (not the fish kind) and crushed dog or cat biscuits. There is also specialist hedgehog food available from most wildlife food suppliers.
Do not feed hedgehogs milk as it tends to upset their stomach and cause diarrhoea
Making the Garden Hedgehog Friendly
Create A Hedgehog Highway
Another great way to help hedgehogs is by cutting a small hole in your fence allowing them to have access to your garden. This will create a hedgehog highway and allow them to roam greater distances.
Look After and Plant Hedges
It comes as no surprise that hedgehogs like hedges. They’re the perfect garden habitat as they allow easy access to gardens and a great for gathering piles of leaves for hedgehogs to hibernate in.
Make Ponds Safe
Even though hedgehogs can swim, its best to prevent hedgehogs from falling into your pond as they become easily exhausted. You could cover pond or swimming pool to help stop hedgehogs falling in or create something to act as a ladder if they fall in.
Check Before Mowing or Strimming
Prevent injury or worse by checking long grass and around the edges of the garden before using your mower or strimmer. If you do find any sleeping hedgehogs, move them to a safe area.
Avoid Using Slug Pellets
Slug pellets are notoriously poisonous to hedgehogs and quite often lethal. There are wildlife friendly alternative slug and snail pellets however hedgehogs are slug and snail predators.
Some gardeners are known to build bonfires that include twigs, leaves and other garden waste. If you do this, it’s best to check your bonfire before you ignite it as you could be destroying the home of a hedgehog and the hedgehog too.
It’s easy to keep hedgehogs safe and happy in your garden. All it takes is a little bit of extra attention, the right food, a decent place for them to hibernate and you’ll have yourself a happy hedgehog.