6 tips for creating a hedgehog friendly garden
How to create a hedgehog friendly garden
A hedgehog friendly garden helps hedgehogs to survive and makes their lives - and the lives of their little hoglet babies - easier. The focus around hedgehogs is often heard in late autumn due to them hibernating, but they will live in your garden throughout the year - but you just don't see them that often!
1- Make sure hedgehogs have easy access to your garden
Ensure that hedgehogs aren’t blocked out of your garden or don’t have to work too hard to get in. To do this, ensure garden fences or walls have a 13 x 13cm gap or ‘doorway’ at the bottom to allow hedgehogs to pass through easily. Hedgehog Street has a great guide on how to do this! Also, make passageways or highways in your garden where they can move around unobstructed. This will mean hedgehogs can move around freely without crossing busy roads or streets.
2 - Allow an area of your garden to go wild
Keep an area or corner of your garden wild for hedgehogs to shelter while offering a natural food source since it will also attract bugs, grubs and worms. You can also add wildflowers, tree branches, grass cuttings, dead leaves or hedge trimmings, which will act as compost and give hedgehogs a comforting habitat!
3 - Provide hedgehogs with fresh water and food
Hedgehogs need water! They live busy lives, often travelling over a mile in a single night, exploring and looking for food. So, by leaving them out something to drink, you are making their nocturnal foraging escapades easier! Likewise, they are busy little creatures and need food to energise them. So leaving them small portions of meaty cat or dog food (or dry cat food since cat biscuits are smaller than dog biscuits) will help keep their bellies full!
4 - Offer hedgehogs a friendly home in your garden
Adding a hedgehog home to your garden offers them a place to sleep, shelter, and somewhere safe to hibernate in winter. Hedgehogs will also use the home as a nesting box for a mother and her hoglets in the warmer months.
5 - Check your garden before strimming or mowing
Hoglets and junior hedgehogs are surprisingly small, so it’s best to double-check all areas of your garden before doing any gardening or maintenance work. So, thoroughly check around your garden for hedgehogs before strimming or mowing!
6 - Make sure your garden pond is hedgehog friendly
Although hedgehogs are good swimmers, they can easily become trapped in garden ponds because there is often no way to get out. You can help them by providing a sloping ramp out of the pond (not too steep!) and ensuring the water level is topped up. Alternatively, you could place a series of rocks in the pond for them to climb onto and get out when they want.
Keep an eye out for hedgehogs at night
Remember that hedgehogs are nocturnal and will explore and forage when the sun goes down. Be extra careful when driving to and from your home, as hedgehogs don’t know they are crossing a road and will roll up in a ball when they see lights approaching. They rely on us to spot them crossing the road and stop to let them cross. However, if you have a hedgehog highway in your garden, you will reduce the chance of them needing to cross a busy road in the first place.
If you have any questions about creating a hedgehog habitat or anything else garden-related, please get in touch with us; we are always happy to help!