Hedgehog Garden

Despite hedgehogs being named Britain’s favourite mammal in 2016, some Brits are still unsure as to what to do if they have a hedgehog visit their garden and more importantly, how to keep their gardenhedgehog friendly and casualty-free. 

How to prepare a Hedgehog friendly garden 

Here are our top tips that keep the prickly visitors safe and happy for when they next come to visit: 

1.  Leave a nutritious bowl of food and water out 

The hedgehogs and their newly born hoglets are going to be very hungry and thirsty, so we recommend leaving out a bowl of nutritious food for them to eat, such as our Crunchy Dry Food alongside a bowl of water.
 

2. Create a small gap in your fence  

Create a small hedgehog size hole in your fence, so that they can pass through safely and easily on their journey to other gardens as well as yours. We’d recommend making your hole approximately 15cm wide so hedgehogs can easily fit through the gap.
 

3. Cover any exposed drains  

It is important to cover any exposed drains in your garden as it is easy for small hedgehogs to get trapped and potentially suffer from chemical burns from the residue of your kitchen cleaning products, which would be very distressing for the hoglets 

4. Clear your garden of any rubbish 

Hedgehogs are curious creaturesmeaning that they sometimes rummage through any open rubbish bags, which may contain sharp objects, like a tin can lid. We’d always recommend ensuring that your rubbish bags are tied tightly so hedgehogs and their hoglets can’t make their way inside. 

Hedgehogs also love to nest in bin bags, so it is vital that you check them before throwing them away! 

5. Avoid using pesticides and other garden chemicals 

Many pesticides and other garden chemicals contain poisons – for example slug pellets  which are deadly to hedgehogs and other garden wildlife. We would advise you to use more organic methods, such as soapy water, marigolds, or peppermint plants. Hedgehogs like to munch on bugs so often they are a natural form of pest control themselves 

If you do need to use pesticides as a last resort, it is important that you read the ingredients and instructions on how to use beforehand to ensure that you are using them safely. 

6. Build a ramp for any ponds or pools in your garden 

Although hedgehogs are surprisingly good swimmers, they can become exhausted and drown if they cannot escape the pond or pool easily. 

For this reason, we suggest that you build a ramp around the edge of your pond or to leave a piece of chicken wire at the edge of your poolwhich will act as an escape ladder for the hedgehog. 

Submit your hedgehog sighting 

Once you have made your garden hedgehog-friendly and you do see a hedgehog, we encourage you to record your sighting in our online Hedgehog Hotspot Map at https://www.spikesfood.co.uk/submit-sighting/ which will help us track population levels of hedgehogs moving forward. 

Fill out the form with the date, time, location, photo, plus any other noteworthy information, in order to help educate your neighbours as to where and when they can expect spiky visitors in your area, so that they too can help to do all they can to care.

Hedgehog Sightings During Lockdown

We’re encouraging you to get in involved in our campaign to help record hedgehog sightings, as populations enjoy a resurgence.

Hedgehogs across the UK have used the quiet of the lockdown to indulge in some “noisy lovemaking”, according to experts who are now predicting a boom in hoglets this summer.

With more of us spending time outside and in our gardens, we’re seeing a huge increase in hedgehog sightings as well as many reports of hedgehogs mating.

Britain’s wildlife appears to have benefitted from the UK lockdown, as less cars on the road means there has been a dramatic drop in the number of roadkill accidents.

A recent study from Nottingham Trent University revealed that the mortality rate for hedgehogs has nearly halved as people were urged to stay at home, with data showing that between the last week of March and the first week of April, around 140 hedgehog deaths were recorded, compared with up to 381 for the same period in 2019

Hoglet Baby Boom’

Hedgehog numbers have been in sharp decline for decades, with the last report from the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and the People’s Trust for Endangered Species, showing that hedgehog populations in rural areas have halved since 2000. In urban areas, they have fallen by 30 per cent.

However, there is some good news. Much like the anticipated human baby boom in early 2021, we believe the rise in reported hedgehog sightings and mating instances could lead to a hedgehog ‘baby boom’ in June and July, which is when the six-week gestation period typically finishes.

Stay vigilant

This is fantastic news for wildlife lovers everywhere in the UK. However, now that lockdown rules are starting to lift, we’re urging people to stay vigilant to hedgehogs when they’re out and about or in the garden.

If you want to encourage hedgehogs into your garden, putting just a small gap in your garden fence to allow them to get in and out easily or leaving out hedgehog food and water are just two simple ways you can help them survive as habitat loss continues to threaten their existence.

We need your help in ensuring that one of Britain’s best loved animals continues to thrive. As well as making your garden a little more hedgehog-friendly, recording any hedgehog sightings in our online Hedgehog Hotspot map at https://www.spikesfood.co.uk/submit-sighting/ will help us track levels moving forwards.

Fill out the form with the date, time, location, photo, plus any other noteworthy information, in order to help educate your neighbours as to where and when they can expect spiky visitors in your area, so that they too can help to do all they can to care.

Photo credit: British Hedgehog Preservation Society

By building a hedgehog feeding station, you can encourage hedgehogs to visit your garden without worry of other animals, such as your cat or dog, stealing the food you provide for your spiky visitors. A feeding station will also protect the hedgehog and its food from inclement weather.

You only need this simple list of materials to build your hedgehog feeding station:

  • Large plastic or wooden box
  • Hacksaw or strong scissors*
  • Strong, thick tape
  • 2 bricks or large stones

How to build a hedgehog feeding station:

  1. The first step would be to carefully cut, using a hacksaw for a wooden box or scissors for a plastic box, a 13cmx13cm/4.5’’x4.5’’ hole in one side of the box. This will be your hedgehog entrance point.
  2. Next, if using a plastic box, ensure that all sharp edges are covered with thick tape. This will ensure that the hedgehog will not be harmed by any sharp bits.
  3. Turn the box upside down and place your hedgehog food and water at the furthest point away from the hedgehog entrance.
  4. Place one of your bricks on top of the plastic box to ensure that the box does not fall over or move and expose the hedgehog and its food.
  5. Place the second brick approximately 13cm away from the hedgehog entrance point.

And there you have it… your own hedgehog feeding station! We’re sure that your spiky garden visitors will love their new restaurant!

What do hedgehogs eat?

In the wild, the majority of a hedgehog’s diet is made up of invertebrates (creepy crawlies) like worms, beetles, caterpillars, earwigs and millipedes. But hedgehogs can also eat specialist hedgehog food like Spike’s. Also make sure to leave a dish of water out to help keep your hedgehog visitors hydrated.

When should I put out my hedgehog house?

Hedgehogs hibernate during the winter months, so the best time to put your hedgehog house is between April and October.

*Please always be careful when using sharp objects. Children should seek assistance from a parent or guardian.