What’s the idea?
Encourage Hedgehogs to your garden to help protect it from snails and slugs.
What’s the story?
Hedgehogs are often described as ‘a gardener’s best friend’
Last week it was National Hedgehog Week
So there couldn’t be a better time to welcome hedgehogs to your garden
To protect these cute and helpful creatures.
Once I read more about the nature of hedgehogs
I was even keener to encourage these little helpers into our garden.
The kids can’t wait to see one too!
People should do this because…?
Hedgehog Awareness Week is organised annually by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS)
The numbers of hedgehogs are in decline
(numbers have nearly halved over the past century)
So this society aims to highlight the problems hedgehogs face
As well as explaining how you can help them
Hedgehogs are seldom seen during the day
They come out in the evening
And tend to wander through several gardens each night
This is where they feed on a variety of insects
Like snails and slugs, beetles, caterpillars and worms
Who secretly eat our newly planted flowers and seedlings!
Encouraging hedgehogs to your garden can help minimise those pesky insects
Hedgehogs are lovely creatures to share our gardens with.
Luckily, there’s lots we can do to make a hedgehog-friendly garden
Without changing the look of our garden
How do you do it?
Create a nice home for the hedgehogs:
- Ensure your garden has some thick dense undergrowth plus different grass lengths. This provides them with a place to hide and nest.
- Hedgehogs seek out insects to eat so a pile of logs is the perfect spot for hedgehogs to hibernate. Collect some wood and choose a quiet and undisturbed section of your garden to set it up.
- Make or buy a hedgehog box
- To learn how to make your own hedgehog house click here
- Or find out where you can buy a hedgehog house click here
According to the RSPB the best places to place the box are:
- Out of direct sunlight, entrance facing away from prevailing winds.
- Put it in cover, under thick vegetation for example, or under the garden shed.
- If you know where a hedgehog has built it’s own nest in the past, consider putting your new one there, or in a similar place.
- Resist the temptation to keep removing the lid to check if the box is being used. It’s best not to disturb any potential hedgehog residents
Provide them supplementary food and water:
- This is particularly useful during periods of drought when natural insect foods may be harder to come by. Their varied diet allows them to eat all kinds of foods we have around the home! Never feed them bread or milk as they can’t digest these foods. You can also try hedgehog food, cat biscuits or wet cat/dog food.
- Remember to clean up any uneaten food daily and wash up the dish it was placed in
Create a Hedgehog highway:
- If your garden is contained by a fence or wall, try to make them a small opening on either side. This means they can easily wander from neighbour to neighbour
- Cut a 13 x 13cm (5.1 x 5.1 inches) hole in the bottom of your fence and ask your neighbours to do the same. This will allow hedgehogs to move freely between gardens as a larger network
Protect your hedgehogs:
David Domoney, Chartered Horticulturist and English celebrity gardener, suggests:
- Scan areas very carefully before mowing and strimming
- Cover any drains or deep holes so hedgehogs don’t fall.
- Check your compost heap before digging the fork in
- Don’t let your dog into the garden at night on their own
- Should you see a hedgehog during the day, it may be distressed. Contact the British Hedgehog Preservation Society for advice.
- Avoid the use of chemicals in the garden as this has a impact on your garden’s natural food chain. Hedgehogs may accidentally eat something that will make it ill.
- Ensure there is no litter around your garden. Hedgehogs are inquisitive and waste can trap a hedgehog. This could leave them vulnerable or cause injury
- If you have a pond, make sure you provide platforms and sloped routes out of the water.
If you would like to learn more about hedgehogs and how to help them click here.
If you would like to donate to the BHPS, please click here.
Stuff you may need
- Thick undergrowth areas
- Log piles/wood
- Hedgehog box
- Supplementary food
- Small openings in your fences