HELPING HEDGEHOGS

A hedgehog friendly garden will soon entice some nightly visitors

Hedgehogs are a delightful feature of both rural and urban Britain, regularly topping public polls as ‘Britain’s Favourite Mammal’. Sadly, since the middle of the last century their numbers have been declining rapidly, mainly due to loss of habitat and increased use of pesticides.

 

It can be hard to accurately estimate, but the evidence seems to show that we have lost over half our rural hedgehogs and a third of them from urban areas in the last 20 years alone.

 

Hedgehogs love the patchwork of fields, hedgerows and woods that make up the British countryside, and they really love our gardens. This means we can all do our bit by making sure our gardens are as hog friendly as possible.

 

MAKE YOUR GARDEN A HOGGY HAVEN

Put out plenty of food and water

Give them a cosy hog house

Make sure they have access

Place a few shallow bowls of water around your garden along with wet or dry dog or cat food (not fish flavour) or hedgehog foods like Spikes and Brambles. You can even make a feeding station to keep the food safe from cats and foxes.

 

Never put out milk, bread, peanuts or meal worms, as these are very harmful to hedgehogs.

 

Buying or building your own hedgehog house is a great way to encourage hogs into your garden. They can use them for sleeping, nesting and hibernating. Make sure you position your hog house in a quiet, undisturbed corner of the garden.

 

Check out our guide to creating the perfect hog house here. They can be great fun for the family to help make.

 

No matter how enticing you make your garden, it will be futile if the hogs can't get in! Solid fences and brick walls prevent them from roaming in search of tasty bugs, so be sure to create hoggy access points.

 

You can cut a 13 x 13cm hole in a fence, remove a brick from a wall, or put a small piece of pipe through a wire fence. Finish it off with a 'Hedgehog Highway' sign!

 

Create a pond, but make sure they can get out

Check before strimming or lighting a bonfire

Do not use slug pellets or other pesticides

A pond is a great garden feature that will encourage all kinds of wildlife to pay you a visit. They are also good for hedgehogs as they provide not only a source of water but also food in the shape of insects and amphibians.

 

Do make sure your pond has a gently sloping edge or a ramp to allow a hog to climb out should it accidentally fall in.

Every year we have a number of strimmer victims brought in the rescue, with injuries ranging from very short 'hair cuts' to really nasty wounds. Please always check for hogs before you strim an overgrown area.

 

They are also attracted to piles of leaves and logs, so always check before burning, particularly around bonfire night when hogs are looking for places to hibernate.

Never use chemical treatments that kill slugs, snails or insects, as they are toxic and extremely harmful to hedgehogs. Even if they don't kill the hog they can leave a female infertile, reducing the numbers of new hedgehogs in the local area.

 

Try to keep your garden as natural as possible. There are a number of alternatives to slug pellets listed here.

GIVE YOUR HOGS THEIR OWN HOUSE

Whether it's for sleeping during the day, nesting for hoglets or a cosy winter hideaway for hibernation, adding a hedgehog house to your garden is a great way to encourage them to visit and gives the hogs a better chance of surviving winter. Include a feeding station and bowls of water and you will have some very happy hedgehogs!

 

There are plenty of places to buy them, from local pet stores to specialist wildlife retailers and good old Amazon or eBay. They are also fairly easy to make and can be a fun family project to keep the kids occupied on a rainy Sunday afternoon. The Wildlife Trusts have a good guide to making your own, and this BBC Gardeners' World guide shows you how to make one from a left over wine crate.

 

Whether buying or building, please follow our hog house advice guide...

 

Put the house in a quiet, shady area of your garden that has been left to grow a little wild. Consider setting up a trail camera to record any hoggy visitors.

Make sure your house has a either a small tunnel at the entrance, or a divider inside, to prevent predators reaching into the house.

Use untreated native British wood for making the home. Wood treatments can contain toxic substances.

Buy or make one with a removable roof so you can clean the house out. March or April is the best time to do this (but check there isn’t a sleeping hog in there first!)

Please don’t put food inside. This encourages multiple hedgehogs into the house which can stress a hog that has already made it home. Use a separate feeding station instead.

Put some meadow hay and dry leaves inside to make a cosy bed for the hog. Scatter a little outside to encourage the hog to investigate.

GET IN TOUCH

FOLLOW US AND HELP OUT

Make sure they have access to your garden

Put out plenty of food and water

Place a few shallow bowls of water around your garden along with wet or dry dog or cat food (not fish flavour) or hedgehog foods like Spikes and Brambles. You can even make a feeding station to keep the food safe from cats and foxes.

 

Never put out milk, bread, peanuts or meal worms, as these are very harmful to hedgehogs.

Give them a cosy hog house

Buying or building your own hedgehog house is a great way to encourage hogs into your garden. They can use them for sleeping, nesting and hibernating. Make sure you position your hog house in a quiet, undisturbed corner of the garden.

 

Check out our guide to creating the perfect hog house here. They can be great fun for the family to help make.

Make sure they have access to your garden

No matter how enticing you make your garden, it will be futile if the hogs can't get in! Solid fences and brick walls prevent them from roaming in search of tasty bugs, so be sure to create hoggy access points.

 

You can cut a 13 x 13cm hole in a fence, remove a brick from a wall, or put a small piece of pipe through a wire fence. Finish it off with a 'Hedgehog Highway' sign!

Create a pond, but make sure they can get out

A pond is a great garden feature that will encourage all kinds of wildlife to pay you a visit. They are also good for hedgehogs as they provide not only a source of water but also food in the shape of insects and amphibians.

 

Do make sure your pond has a gently sloping edge or a ramp to allow a hog to climb out should it accidentally fall in.

Check before strimming or lighting a bonfire

Every year we have a number of strimmer victims brought in the rescue, with injuries ranging from very short 'hair cuts' to really nasty wounds. Please always check for hogs before you strim an overgrown area.

 

They are also attracted to piles of leaves and logs, so always check before burning, particularly around bonfire night when hogs are looking for places to hibernate.

Do not use slug pellets or other pesticides

Never use chemical treatments that kill slugs, snails or insects, as they are toxic and extremely harmful to hedgehogs. Even if they don't kill the hog they can leave a female infertile, reducing the numbers of new hedgehogs in the local area.

 

Try to keep your garden as natural as possible. There are a number of alternatives to slug pellets listed here.

 

Put the house in a quiet, shady area of your garden that has been left to grow a little wild. Consider setting up a trail camera to record any hoggy visitors.

Make sure your house has a either a small tunnel at the entrance, or a divider inside, to prevent predators reaching into the house.

Use untreated native British wood for making the home. Wood treatments can contain toxic substances.

Buy or make one with a removable roof so you can clean the house out. March or April is the best time to do this (but check there isn’t a sleeping hog in there first!).

Please don’t put food inside. This encourages multiple hedgehogs into the house which can stress a hog that has already made it home. Use a separate feeding station instead.

Put some meadow hay and dry leaves inside to make a cosy bed for the hog. Scatter a little outside to encourage the hog to investigate.

GET IN TOUCH