How to Help the Hedgehogs
Sadly, hedgehog numbers continue to decline in the UK but there are a few simple things people can do to help give these cute, quiet creatures a leg up.
1. Create an access hole in your fence, a simple 12cmx12cm hole is sufficient. You could even get with your neighbours to create a ‘hedgehog highway’, as such, so they can roam further.
2. Plant a hedge for garden division instead of a fence. Preferably a hawthorn or hazel which will attract a hedgehog’s favoured food, caterpillars.
3. Make ponds ‘hedgehog safe’. By having a gradual slope into a pond as opposed to steep sides, which can allow a hedgehog to exit easily.
4. Check before strimming. To prevent injury or death, check before you strim to ensure there is not a sleeping hedgehog present.
5. Avoid Slug Pellets. These contain metaldehyde which is lethal to hedgehogs.
6. Make a hedgehog house. With the decline of suitable habitats, you can help the hedgehog out by building them a home. The Wildlife Trusts have a great ‘how-to’ on building a hedgehog home.
7. Leave out extra food. Meat-based dog or cat food is a good supplementary food for hedgehogs. Please avoid fish-based pet foods, bread and milk.
8. Grow native plants such as honeysuckle, dog rose, hawthorn and blackthorn which are caterpillar food for many types of moths. Caterpillars are a nourishing food for hedgehogs.
9. Retaining twigs and leaves in a quiet corner, can make a great habitat for hedgehogs.
10. Check before lighting a bonfire. Either build and burn a bonfire on the same day or dismantle and rebuild a bonfire pile to ensure no hedgehogs have used that as a home.