31, January, 2022
According to the Wildlife Trust, hedgehog numbers have declined by over 30% in the last 10 years. For the abundant number of wildlife lovers across the UK, this is truly devastating and it’s hard to imagine our country without the spiky little creatures. Losing a quintessentially British species hedgehogs would be a massive blow to many of us, which is why we need to do everything we can to prevent their decline. If you’re a hedgehog advocate and are searching for ways to make a difference, read on for 22 ways to help hedgehogs in 2022.
1. Do your research
In order to help hedgehogs, you need to understand their way of life, what to look out for, what factors are negatively affecting them and the role we play in the decline of the species. Knowledge is power; we can only really help if we understand the challenges they’re facing!
2. Create a hedgehog highway
Hedgehogs need to be able to move between gardens with ease. Cutting small 15cm holes in your fence, one on each side, helps hedgehogs pass freely as they search for food. Hedgehogs are natural wanderers and do this instinctively, so any helping hand you can give them is a bonus!
3. Plant hedges and bushes
Planting a few bushes in your garden may not sound like a big deal but these could really make a difference for your local hedgies. Bushes provide a safe space for hedgehogs to sleep and hide from predators and they’re normally bristling with tasty insects for hedgehogs to feast on.
4. Stay away from pesticides
Many widely used garden pesticides are harmful to hedgehogs. The good news is that hedgehogs actually help you get rid of pests. What is a pest for you is actually dinner for hedgehogs!
5. Leave food and water
Hedgehog diets consist mainly of insects and invertebrates. The destruction of natural habitats in the UK has caused a shortage in these food sources, which is having an impact on hedgehog survival as a result. To help hedgehogs, you can leave out Spike’s hedgehog food as a supplement to their diet.
6. Submit hedgehog sightings
If you see a hedgehog, it is always a good idea to submit the time and location of the sighting on our website. This information is useful, as it gives us more insight as to where hedgies are more frequently found and the distribution of the species across the UK. Submit a sighting here.
7. Drive with care
As we go into 2022 and the months start to get warmer, keep an eye out on the road when driving at night as hedgehogs are known to enjoy an occasional late night stroll. Hedgehogs don’t understand which areas are safe to walk in and which are not so it is your responsibility as a hedgehog advocate to keep your eyes peeled.
8. Add a pond
If you’re looking to spruce up your back garden, now is the time to invest in a pond. Ponds attract various creepy crawlies – exactly what hedgies like to have for dinner! Other forms of UK wildlife also benefit from ponds.
9. Make ponds safe
If you do decide to build a pond, or if you have one already, try to take steps to ensure it’s safe for hedgehogs. Put a ramp in the water so if an unsuspecting hedgehog does fall in, they have an escape route.
10. Strim with care
When it’s time to strim the lawn, many people go about the task without a second thought. It is always worth checking the entire area first and make sure there are no spiky friends nestled between the blades of grass.
11. Don’t use slug pellets
Slug pellets can actually kill your friendly neighbourhood hogs so it’s best to steer clear of these wherever possible. There are many natural, non-toxic alternatives you can use instead, like coffee grounds or egg shells.
12. Make a hedgehog house
Many hedgehog advocates are building their own hedgehog houses and putting food and water inside. Hedgehog houses give spiky visitors somewhere quiet to eat and drink, where they won’t be bothered by predators. To find out how to build a hedgehog house, click here.
13. Create a log pile
Creating a log pile is a sure-fire way to make your back garden that extra bit hedgehog-friendly. Hedgehogs love curling themselves up in dark, enclosed spaces and log piles tend to attract plenty of spiders and beetles for them to eat.
14. Create a compost heap
A compost heap is the ideal environment for hedgehogs to nest in and they’re very attractive to creepy crawlies, which means they provide both shelter and food for our spiky friends. To make a compost heap, pile kitchen and garden compost waste in a quiet corner of your garden.
15. Choose the right plants
When deciding on plants for your garden, try to choose native varieties that attract invertebrates like slugs, caterpillars and beetles. The more food sources available to hedgehogs, the better!
16. Get rid of litter
If your garden is overrun with litter, this is quite dangerous for hedgehogs. They can easily get caught in packets or plastic and can even injure themselves, so it is always best to keep your garden clear of rubbish. If you have netting in your garden, consider whether you might be able to make do without it. Similar to rubbish, hedgehogs can get caught up in different kinds of netting. Sports netting in particular can be quite dangerous to hedgehogs.
17. Cover up drains
If you have exposed drains around the outside of your house, make sure these are safely covered up. It doesn’t take much for a hedgehog to accidentally fall in, so air on the side of caution by buying a drain cover.
18. Be careful with bonfires
It goes without saying but be very careful if you decide to build a bonfire. Before lighting, check the area with a fine tooth comb to ensure there are no sleepy hedgehogs dwelling inside. You should also always be very vigilant when clearing your bonfire away.
19. Know when to ask for help
If you see a hedgehog out during the day or come across one that appears to be injured, always call your local hedgehog rescue straight away. Hedgehogs are wild animals and as much as you may want to help, they need to be handled a certain way. Offer food and water (wet cat or dog food will do just fine if you don’t have Spike’s) and stay with the hedgehog until help arrives.
20. Watch out for hoglets
Most hoglets are born in Autumn and need to gain a certain level of fat in order to survive the winter. If they’re born too late in the season, the chances are that they won’t have had enough time to do this. If you see a hoglet that appears to be on it’s own, or a hoglet that seems smaller than usual around November time, call your local hedgehog rescue for advice on what to do next.
21. Get involved
You might be surprised to discover that there are an abundant number of hedgehog helping communities in most towns and cities across the UK. Get involved with your local wildlife advocates as there’s always strength in numbers. These groups are always on the lookout for volunteers at shelters or people to help out at fundraising events!
22. Get social
These days, there are hundreds of Facebook groups and Instagram accounts dedicated to hedgehog welfare. It’s time to get social by connecting with online communities and helping spread the word about hedgehogs. What better time to start than 2022!
To keep up with Spike’s and to find out what we’re doing to help the nation’s hogs, follow us on social.