One third of our hedgehogs have disappeared over the last 10 years so why not help a hog today?
Did you know that the hedgehog population is in serious decline? One of the main reasons for this is because we all have better fences, walls and boundaries than we used to. The solution is really simple, help to create a wildlife corridor by making a small 5” semi circular hole in the base of your fence, or take out one brick at the bottom of a wall, or dig a channel under the fence, so the hedgehogs can readily travel from one garden to the next. They need at least 4/5 gardens to survive and can travel a mile in a night!
Have a look on this website for ideas on how to encourage hedgehogs to visit your garden (you may even be lucky enough to end up with some nesting there!). Hedgehogs love log piles, dead leaf piles and compost heaps, so find a quiet corner of the garden and pile up a hog home. Remember, hedgehogs need safe and secure sites to breed and hibernate.
They eat beetles, slugs, worms and caterpillars, and need a supply of fresh water to drink. You can feed hedgehogs dog/cat food, dry or with jelly, but NEVER milk or bread!
A simple feeding box helps them to stay safe from foxes and cats – use a plastic storage box with a lid, cut a 5 “ hole in it and place with the doorway approx 5" hole away from a fence or hedge so the larger mammals can’t get in. You could also build a house with logs or stone/bricks. They're more protected if you build a tunnel entrance.
A hedgehog feeding station made from a plastic box with a tunnel
- Clear away any old piles of chicken wire or garden mesh which the hedgehogs can become entangled in.
- Ponds need a shallow slope at one side for hedgehogs to climb out. Don't use slug pellets because they can make hedgehogs really ill, and if you manage to encourage hedgehogs into your garden, they will eat the slugs for you.
- Check underneath any bonfire piles before you light them – ideally store the wood in a separate location from where you are building the fire, then when you move it you're sure you're not toasting any hedgehogs.
- Check that there are no dogs bothering the hedgehogs when you let them out last thing at night – you can warn the hedgehogs by putting an outside light on first, or take the dog out on a lead.
Here are the competition winners for the best photo of a hedghog shelter, as chosen by Wild About Gardens.