Hedgehogs in the Garden.
MAKE A HEDGEHOG A HOME
Leave areas of the garden 'wild', with piles of leaf litter and logs. These are an attractive nest as well as a home for the invertebrates (slugs, beetles) that hedgehogs like to eat.
Making an artificial home can be as simple as placing a piece of board against a wall.
Food and fresh water will encourage hedgehogs to return. Leave out foods like tinned dog or cat food (not fish-based) and crushed dog or cat biscuits. Specialist hedgehog food is also recommended and can be bought from wildlife food suppliers.
Never feed hedgehogs milk as it can cause diarrhoea; instead provide plain, fresh water in a shallow bowl.
Want to make your garden more hedgehog friendly? Take a look at the things you can do in your garden...
Make your garden accessible
- Creating 'Hedgehog Highways' by making small holes in your garden walls or fences. They are known to travel a few miles each night, so teaming up with neighbours to create these gaps (around 12 sq cm) enables them to roam freely between gardens, avoiding dangerous roads.
- Plans for Hedgehog Highways are being implemented at College Park, where many of the houses will have hedgehog holes cut into their fences to allow them to roam freely.
Make your water features hedgehog-friendly
- Cover drains and holes and place bricks at the side of ponds. Hedgehogs can swim - but you need to make sure they have accessible routes in and out. Cover swimming pools overnight and when not in use.
Avoid using chemicals
- Pesticides, insecticide and slug pellets are poisonous to hedgehogs, and reduce the amount of prey for the hogs to eat. Instead try using one of many "natural" alternatives, like sprinkling crushed eggshells or coffee grounds around the plants you need to protect. If you have to use pellets, place them under a slate which is inaccessible to hedgehogs.
Check before trimming, tidying and clearing
- Hedgehogs can easily hide in long grass or piles of logs, check for hedgehogs before using strimmers or mowers, particularly under hedges where animals may rest. Check compost heaps for nesting hogs before forking over.
- Build bonfires as close to time of lighting as possible and check them thoroughly before lighting.
- Remove sports or fruit netting when not in use to prevent hedgehogs becoming entangled, and getting injured.
Did you know?
As many as 10 different hedgehogs may visit a garden over several nights, which could mean 'your hedgehog' is a number of different individuals visiting at different times.