Hedgehog Awareness Week!
April 30th to May 6th 2023 is Hedgehog Awareness Week – so we though we’d take this opportunity to highlight how you can look after them, with these tips!
Make Your Garden Hedgehog-Friendly
The most important thing you can do to help hedgehogs is to make your garden safe for them and keep them in mind. A couple of pointers to minimise hazards are to:
- Remove netting, particularly soft or loose nets, as well as litter, like bags and tins/pots, so they do not get stuck or tangled.
- Stop using chemicals, pesticides, and slug pellets, as they harm hedgehogs or eradicate their natural food; you can find environmentally-friendly treatments and organic ways to protect your garden online.
- Cover any holes, such as drains, and provide exit routes from ponds and water.
- Check for hedgehogs (and other wildlife, of course) before you light a bonfire, turn your compost heap with a fork, or strim and mow your grass.
- Turn on lights and supervise dogs when taking them outside in the evening. Cats, on the other hand, don’t usually pose a threat.
Leave Food for Hedgehogs
Dog or cat food with a high meat content, or specialist hedgehog food, is best. You can even build a feeding station to prevent other animals, like cats, from getting to food and water bowls – do this by placing bowls at the far end of waterproof box, with a 5 inch square hole (with no sharp edges) at the other end. Place a large rock or brick on the top of the box, and 5 inches from the entrance hole to stop other animals from getting in. Remember it’s important not to leave food close to the hedgehog’s shelter.
Build a Welcoming Environment
Hedgehogs will love your garden if you go the extra mile for them. A few ways to do this are to:
- Cut a ‘hedgehog highway’ in your fence, great for letting hedgehogs pass in and out of your garden (if you don’t have hedges). Just leave a safe 5 inch square hole at the bottom of your fence, and make sure you don’t cover it again!
- Facilitate at least some shelter. You could even build a hedgehog home – instructions and requirements can be found for these online.
- Leave a patch of your garden wild (by not mowing it and letting flowers, grass, and weeds grow, within reason), as this will contribute to all wildlife.
Keep an Eye Out
If you spot a hedgehog, keep a distance, but check they’re safe and well as far as you can tell. They should not be injured, surrounded by flies, trapped, unstable when walking, or lethargic. Hoglets shouldn’t be squawking and/or out during the day. If your concerned about them, find information on The British Hedgehog Preservation Society‘s website about how to care for them, and contact them as they can advise you.
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