Hedgehogs are becoming a rare sight in our once abundant gardens, parks and hedgerows. Hedgehogs are dramatically disappearing from our countryside and numbers have fallen by 30% in just the last 10 years. It is thought that there are fewer than one million left in the UK.
Habitat loss contributes greatly to the decline of our much-loved Hedgehog population. According to the Wildlife Trusts, our gardens combined provide a space for wildlife larger than all our National Nature Reserves.
That’s pretty amazing, and most importantly it means that we can help the struggling Hedgehog to thrive once again, by gardening in a wildlife friendly way. Even the smallest changes to your gardening routines can greatly improve the Hedgehogs chances of survival.
Make Hedgehogs a home
Hedgehog houses are perfect for creating a safe nesting place for Hedgehogs to raise their young during the Summer months of June and July, and for hibernation during the Winter. We have a variety of Hedgehog homes in store. We recommend Green Key Garden & Home Hog Hut, its made with sustainably sourced timber and its easy to assemble. The Hog Hut even has an internal hidden chamber for added safety from predators. The hut provides all year round shelter, just place dried leaves or grass inside ready for visiting Hedgehogs. Place the hut undercover out of prevailing winds, ideally covered by foliage to provide camouflage.
Check your garden for hazards
Hedgehogs roam between houses and neighbourhoods. They travel up to 2 km per night in search for mates, nesting sites and food. Creating small tunnels underneath fences can help the Hedgehogs to safely travel through gardens, thus avoiding the traffic on the roads. It’s also important to be aware of the potential hazards for Hedgehogs in our gardens. To help minimize the risks cover drains or holes and place small stepping stones at the side of ponds to give Hedgehogs an easy route out. Check for any resting Hedgehogs underneath leaf piles and hedges before using strimmer’s or mowers, and always check the compost heap before forking over.
Hedgehogs are indeed a gardener’s best friend as they love to eat the critters that love to eat our plants, such as insects, beetles, some worms and also a few slugs and snails. Encourage Hedgehogs to return to your garden each night by leaving out fresh food and water for them inside Hedgehog friendly feeding stations. We recommend Brambles Crunchy Hedgehog Food, it’s full of nutritional benefits for our wild friends. Never feed hedgehogs milk!
Create a diverse and habitat rich garden to attract wildlife by planting an array of wild flowers and grasses, this encourages plenty of insects that Hedgehogs love to eat. We recommend creating a wildflower patch from annual mixes such as Poppies and Cornflowers, or beautiful perennial plants such as Oxeye Daisy and Geranium × oxonianum ‘Wargrave Pink’. Hedges also provide the perfect nesting spots for insects, birds and Hedgehogs, as well as providing comfort and shelter in harsh weathers. Leaving the lawn to grow an extra few weeks can hugely benefit the Hedgehogs natural food supply too.
Hedgehogs are nocturnal and are commonly only seen out at night. Generally, any hedgehog out during the day is likely to be in trouble and needs your help. Any Hedgehogs you think may be poorly or injured should be taken to a Wildlife Rescue Centre. Click here to find a vicinity near you.