The sight of a hedgehog wandering through your garden is a wonderful sight to see. These adorable little creatures play a vital role in maintaining a balanced ecosystem by controlling pests and insects. Unfortunately, hedgehog populations have been declining in recent years due to habitat loss and other factors. By making your garden a hedgehog-friendly place, you can actively contribute to their conservation. In this blog, we'll explore some simple steps you can take to attract hedgehogs to your garden and provide them with a safe and nurturing environment.
Create a Hedgehog-Friendly Environment
Hedgehogs need a place to call home, so start by providing suitable shelter. Leave patches of wild areas, such as dense shrubs, log piles, and leafy nooks, which offer ideal hiding spots for hedgehogs to rest, nest, and hibernate. Avoid excessive tidying or over-grooming your garden, as hedgehogs prefer a slightly wilder environment.
To encourage hedgehogs to visit your garden, it's crucial to create pathways or "hedgehog highways." These are small holes or gaps in fences and walls, allowing hedgehogs to roam freely between gardens in search of food, mates, and new territories. By connecting your garden to neighbouring spaces, you contribute to the hedgehog's overall habitat connectivity.
Water and Food Sources
Providing a fresh water source is vital for hedgehogs, especially during dry spells. A shallow dish filled with water or a dedicated hedgehog water station can be easily maintained. Remember to keep the water source at ground level, as hedgehogs may struggle to access raised containers.
To attract hedgehogs with food, avoid using slug pellets or chemicals harmful to them. Instead, focus on creating a natural food supply. Hedgehogs enjoy feasting on insects, slugs, and worms. By avoiding pesticide use, you'll naturally cultivate an ecosystem that attracts their favourite prey. Additionally, you can supplement their diet with specialized hedgehog food or meaty cat/dog food (not fish-based), served in a shallow dish. If you're looking to purchase food for hedgehogs, we'd personally recommend having a look at Brambles range.
To ensure the safety of hedgehogs, remove potential hazards from your garden. Check for and cover any holes or trenches that could trap or harm these creatures. Remove or secure netting, as hedgehogs can become entangled. Avoid using slug pellets, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides, as they can harm hedgehogs and the food they rely on.
Hedgehogs are primarily nocturnal animals, so excessive lighting can disturb their natural behaviour and disrupt their feeding patterns. Minimize outdoor lighting or use motion sensor lights to reduce unnecessary illumination during the night.
Hedgehog Nesting Boxes
Providing a purpose-built hedgehog nesting box can serve as an additional refuge, especially during the colder months. These boxes mimic natural nest sites and offer hedgehogs a warm and secure place to hibernate or rear their young. You can find various designs online or even create your own using suitable materials. If you prefer a convenient option, we can provide a simple handcrafted hedgehog house that will provide the perfect shelter for these delightful creatures.