Hedgehogs are an asset in the garden as they eat slugs, snails and insects, with declining numbers they are now listed as “Vulnerable” on Britain’s red list of mammals. According to the latest State of Britain’s hedgehogs report, numbers of hedgehogs have fallen by up to 30% in urban areas and 50% in rural areas since the Millennium. Here are a few things you can do to encourage these gentle creatures to find a place in your garden.
Build a habitat fit for a Hedgehog ! If you have the space go “Wild” in a quiet area of your garden, piles of leaf litter and logs are perfect and will attract the insects that Hedgehogs love to eat. It can be as simple as placing a piece of board against a fence surrounded by some dry leaves or purchasing a ready made Hedgehog home.
Making small holes in your fencing at ground level allows Hedgehogs to pass easily from garden to garden, encouraging them to naturally forage.
* NEVER feed Hedgehogs milk as this causes diarrhoea, provide plain water in a shallow bowl, refreshed regularly
Preventing Accidents :
- Cover drains and holes and place bricks at the side of ponds to give hedgehogs an easy route out.
- Check for hedgehogs before using strimmers or mowers, particularly under hedges where animals may rest. Check compost heaps 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.
- Slug pellets can poison hedgehogs and should only be used as a last resort. 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.
Remember, the Hedgehog is a wild animal, interaction should be kept at a minimum. These wonderful little creatures should be observed from afar and you will be doing your bit to give the Hedgehog population a helping hand.