After a weekend visit to a local wildlife park, I was saddened to hear that our garden friend the hedgehog is in rapid decline, not what I thought would be the main attraction for me on the day, but it did make me think about what it is we can do in our own back gardens to help them thrive.
These little critters are welcomed in all gardens! Their appetite for slugs and snails make them the best pest control for your flowers and shrubs. One of the top things you can do in your garden is to make them their own house.
These don’t have to be complicated at all, a few twigs and leaves piled up somewhere shady is ideal. But if you wanted to build a more substantial house then there are plenty of tips online, the RSPB have more information on how to make a ‘hog house’.
If you’re lucky enough you may get hedgehogs who use your house to nest and rear there young, if you have a young family yourself what better way to introduce them to the wonders of nature, and how important doing your bit to help the environment is.
Another thing that you can do is assess any potential hazards, if you can, avoid using slug pellets as some can be fatal to hedgehogs, large holes can be easily fallen into, water troughs and ponds are also dangerous. If you can’t prevent them from falling in, then you could ensure there is a way for them to crawl out.
Hedgehogs are also very inquisitive, so any new smells will draw them in and they do like to lick new things, so if you are painting your shed or fence then try to use a non-toxic paint.
Once you have created your little hedgehog haven, they need to be able to get into your garden. If you have fencing surrounding your garden then create a small gap for them to get through, and encourage your neighbours to do the same, this will allow them to move freely along the street. Most importantly keeping them away from the roads.
Lastly, feeding them. Hedgehogs will eat most types of food, the best food to put out is dog or cat food. Even fruit and cooked vegetables will go down a treat, but don’t put out milk and bread as these can make them very ill.
So why not do your bit for nature and enjoy looking out of your window to see wildlife at its’ best.