HELPING OUT THE HOGS AT HOME
MAKE HEDGEHOG HIGHWAYS
Nowadays many gardens are inaccessible, we tend to live in Fort Knox properties, new builds and concrete gravel boards, leave no gaps for out snuffly prickly pals to come under or through to access out garden, we have essentially locked them out!
Many of us are choosing to replace old fencing with these concrete gravel boards, this makes me sad…. :( :( Although its possible to get highways cut into the concrete to allow hedgehog access, or get the builder to put gaps under the gravel board when it’s being installed The hedgehogs will Thank you and so will I) Even gates can have a 5 x5 inch piece of wood cut out so the hoggies can get in. these gaps really are essential.
Hedgehogs are actually exceptional climbers but that doesn’t mean they’d turn their nose up at a convenient archway carved in your fence. If you can persuade your neighbours too, you could have a Hedgehog Highway that allows them to roam the approx. 2 miles they cover every night.
MAKE OR BUY FEEDING STATIONS
Astro turf, block paving these things further inhibit the hedgehogs limiting their natural food source. Slugs, worms and other insects make up the majority of food available to Hedgehogs in UK gardens but, perhaps surprisingly, are also known to eat fallen fruit and bird’s eggs along with scavenged baby frogs and baby birds. Opportunities for this however are less frequent, making their diet mainly insectivorous.
If you want to actively encourage hedgehogs to visit your garden you can leave food to attract them. Never feed them milk as they are severely lactose intolerant and can harm if not kill them. Bread is also best avoided as it doesn’t provide much sustenance to a hedgehog. There are many much more nutritious alternatives such as non-fish based cat and dog food, and meat flavoured pet biscuits to help keep their teeth strong. Even specific Hedgehog food mixes are also much loved and can be bought in most pet shops.
As for drink, a shallow dish of fresh water will do. Putting food out like this will help hedgehogs all year round but is most needed in the run up to their hibernation, so bare them in mind when autumn/winter comes around.
Make or buy Hibernation boxes
Or leave a space under sheds, decking. Plant hedges, thick shrubbery.
The wild hedgehog surprisingly prefers to live in urban areas nowadays, and thats great, however, gardens are becoming poorer homes for wildlife with increased paving, decking and reduced plant life. And with more roads and housing developments being built, we’re seeing a huge loss of connectivity between green spaces, leaving hedgehogs isolated.
DRIVE CAREFULLY AFTER DARK
We've all seen at one time or another that poor squashed hedgehog, just be aware from dusk to dawn that they are out foraging, and likely having to cross roads to get to wilder areas. Hedgehogs tend not to run when dazzled by headlights like most other animals would, they tend to curl up in a ball...If we all drive a little slower through the village, we can hopefully avoid running them over.
BE CAREFUL WHEN GARDENING
Strimming mowing, chopping.Hedgehogs' first instincts are to curl up under their protective spines and not move, so be sure to have a rummage in the long grass to flush out any hedgehogs that would otherwise be imperilled by mowing or strimming. Or, to avoid the danger altogether, you could “SayNoToTheMow” and allow your garden to remain wild throughout the spring to help all wildlife along.
Keep an eye out for any sick or injured hedgehogs
Hedgehogs are strictly nocturnal, so unless visibly injured or distressed in their usual setting, never touch or move them. However, if you see a hedgehog in the daytime, particularly if motionless or sleeping (they never sleep out in the open) there is probably something wrong. In which case you should pick it up, put it in a box and take it to your nearest wildlife rescue centre. Keep phone numbers of Vets and rescues to hand.
Check bonfires before lighting
Hedgehogs love hogging hedges and any other well covered vegetative dwellings, such as log piles, long grass and compost heaps. Take extra care to check before tilling compost and any dry wood and vegetation you plan on burning before you bonfire.
Don't use slug pellets
(Non-toxic alternatives are available such as beer traps and even non-lethal methods like People putting slug pellets down is a huge risk to the hedgehog population, a poisoned slug that gets eaten by a hedgehog leads to a slow painful death. It should be noted, Hedgehogs are fabulous gardeners though, allowing them into your gardens will help keep the number of slugs and snails down naturally, because they like to eat them! If you find slugs are still a problem, there are some great deterrents like the ones mentioned above other than poison. Please bear this mind. seashells and copper bands around the rim of plant pots which slugs hate to crawl over. Slug repellent plants can also be used to border your fruit/veg patch to deter them.)
DON'T DROP LITTER
The rubbish and litter that we leave lying around can pose dangers to curious/hungry hedgehogs which have been known to get their head trapped in yoghurt cartons or tin cans, or they may become tangled in carelessly discarded fishing line, the plastic rings from packs of beer cans are also known to entangle a hedgehog and I have seen hedgehogs that was seriously entangled in the elastic bands that get dropped by some posties.! Please pick litter up if you see it and dispose of it in a bin.
BE AWARE WITH PONDS & POOLS
Hedgehogs are good swimmers but they often drown through sheer exhaustion as they are unable to get out of ponds or swimming pools. If you have a garden pond, make sure at least one side slopes gently to allow any hedgehog to get out, or you can form a ramp out of chicken wire or something similar to create an escape route.
With swimming pools, ensure they are either securely covered or that there is an exit ramp for any hedgehog who may fall in. Further steps to ensure hedgehog safety includes covering any open holes, drains etc. Make sure that ponds and pools are checked on a daily basis.
BE AWARE WITH NETTING
Due to their spines and their tendency to curl up, hedgehogs are very prone to getting tangled up in netting. This can lead to the netting acting like a snare causing damage, sometimes fatal, to the hedgehog. Make sure any unused netting (including sports netting) is stored off the ground and that pea netting is high enough from the ground to allow hedgehogs to pass under safely. Also put away any tarp, plastic garden sacks and fruit or sports netting to keep them from getting entangled.