Wildlife Friendly Gardens

A Hedgehog Haven

by Shannon Harto Wednesday 10 July 2013

Hedgehog
© vetlesk (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The number of hedgehogs across the UK is declining. This spiky critter actually benefits your garden, because they love to eat snails, slugs, beetles, and other insects that could potentially harm your garden. So how can you help out this useful visitor?

Make sure they can get in and out of your garden. If your garden is enclosed, ensure that there are a few holes of at least 5 inches to allow them access in to and out of the area. You can even leave them food such as minced meat, meat based pet food, or chopped boiled eggs and fresh water to encourage their visits. On the other hand, pesticides and slug pellets are dangerous for the animal if ingested.

The animal hibernates from November to mid-March, and you can help to provide them with a safe home for this time period or nesting boxes during the summer months. Garden rubbish such as compost, log piles, leaves, and other organic matter can make great homes for these creatures. For this reason, you should be careful when using compost, creating a bonfire, or mowing the grass. You don’t want to accidentally harm them! Netting and deep ponds are also potentially hazardous.

Hedgehogs are nocturnal, so if you see one during the day, it may be sick or injured. If you find one in need of help, you can contact the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, the RSPCA, or a local vet.

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