Hedgehog friendly gardens
Feeding - Provide a shallow dish of fresh water and food such as meaty cat or dog food, cat biscuits or chopped unsalted peanuts for hedgehogs, especially during long dry spells. NEVER give hedgehogs milk or bread, they can’t digest it. Why not make a simple feeding station?
Fences - Make sure hedgehogs have easy access to your garden by leaving a 13cm x 13cm gap (the size of a CD) in your boundary fences/walls to allow hedgehogs to pass through freely. Ask your neighbours to make their gardens accessible too and create a larger network of gardens for hedgehogs to roam around 1-2 miles a night.
Wild patch - Keep a corner of your garden wild to offer shelter, protection and natural food for hedgehogs and other wildlife. Log and leaf piles create habitat for hedgehogs to nest under and attract insects which provide food.
Slug pellets - Avoid using pesticides and slug pellets in your garden. As part of the natural food chain, slugs can poison and kill hedgehogs if eaten. Use organic methods instead.
Netting - Keep netting 22-30cms (9 - 12”) off the ground so hedgehogs can pass safely underneath without getting tangled up
Ponds - Keep pond and pool water levels topped up, provide a gently sloping edge if possible or place a ramp or half submerged rocks in the water as an escape for hedgehogs. Hedgehogs are good swimmers but can become trapped and drown in ponds or pools with steep sides.
Drains - keep drain holes covered, this stops both leaves and hedgehogs falling into the drain.
Strimmers - Check areas thoroughly for hedgehogs and other wildlife before strimming or mowing.
Litter - Dispose of litter responsibly. Every year hedgehogs are injured by litter and starve to death by getting trapped in discarded rubbish. Hedgehogs can become entangled in elastics bands dropped by the postman, please pick them up.
Bonfires - Bonfires offer a tempting home for a hedgehog. Ideally, collected materials should be re-sited just before the fire is to be lit, if this is not possible, the base should be lifted up with poles or broom handles (not a fork!) and a torch shone in to look for any wildlife or pets in need of rescue before lighting.
Compost - another ideal place for a hedgehog to make a nest and rear its young. Take care when turning the heap; one thrust of a fork can easily kill more than one baby hedgehog.
Sheds - do not suddenly decide to keep doors closed which have previously been left open for some weeks without first checking that there is no nesting hedgehog inside. Keep chemicals, oil etc in sheds and garages off the floor and out of the reach of hedgehogs. When dismantling sheds in summer take special care as a nesting mother with babies may be underneath it.
Dogs – If you have a dog that you think may attack hedgehogs try to warn them when the dog is being let out by turning on an outside light a minute or so before letting the dog out. Also for the dog’s final patrol of the evening you might consider putting him on his lead or using a muzzle. These precautions should only be necessary at night when hedgehogs are active.
Home sweet home - Make or buy a hedgehog home, this offers a hibernation site safe from predators in the winter. It may also be used as a nesting box for a mother and her hoglets in the warmer months.