A helping hand for hedgehogs

06 May 2019 | Posted in Wildlife Garden
A helping hand for hedgehogs
hedgehog / Dave Kilbey

It is Hedgehog Awareness Week and these much-loved gardener’s friends with their characteristic spines and beady black eyes need our help.

Hedgehogs are named after the noisy pig-like grunt they make as they root through garden undergrowth in search of their favourite food; beetle larvae, worms, slugs and snails. The best way to spot a hedgehog is to go out into your garden at night and listen. At this time of year they are noisier than ever as the males compete for females.

Here are our top tips to turn your garden into a hedgehog haven. In return your garden will benefit from one of the most efficent pest controllers on the planet.

  • Leave Wild Patches
    Undisturbed areas can provide food and a safe place to nest and hibernate. Leaf piles and compost heaps offer shelter, warmth, bedding material and attract a tasty snack.
  • Avoiding injuries
    Please go carefully when turning compost heaps and look out for nesting hedgehogs when strimming overgrown areas.
  • Common Hazards
    Garden ponds can become death traps for wildlife, so please make sure they have gently sloping sides or an escape route such as a piece of wood leading to safety. Slug pellets are poisonous and as well as eliminating a key prey species for hedgehogs, the poison is passed to hedgehogs and birds when they eat a dead slug; we recommend they should not be used.
  • Hedgehog café
    A fresh supply of clean water is particularly helpful as the weather warms up. If you want to provide some extra food, a dish of plain non-fishy pet food is usually best. Although many people believe that myth that hedgehogs like bread and milk, they actually make them very sick.
  • Make a gap in your fence
    Hedgehogs can travel up to a mile at night in search of food and a mate; ten or more different individuals may visit a garden over several nights. A 13cm square gap in the bottom of your fence could really help them move from garden to garden. Talk to your neighbours and encourage them to do the same.

For more information on helping hedgehogs please visit our hedgehog webpage.

We are always pleased to hear about your hedgehog sightings at: sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk/sightingsform


Comments

  • Lyn:

    28 Apr 2016 13:05:28

    If you leave dog food out for hedgehogs, won’t it attract rats??

  • Sharon O'Connor:

    28 Apr 2016 13:06:53

    I have hedgehogs visiting my garden every night, they have a dish of fresh water in both the front and back garden and a little dish of hedgehog food, which they love. The most I have seen at any one time is 3 but there may be more. They are adorable and best of all eat the slugs!

  • Angela Latham:

    28 Apr 2016 21:30:14

    I have a very desirable garden-home waiting for a hedgehog to move in, adjacent garden also a bonus. Can anyone advise how to adopt one?

  • James Barclay:

    29 Apr 2016 10:42:17

    Angela Latham might like to search on the internet for the Hedgehog rescue society that is always looking for people with suitable gardens to adopt them. They are based in Sussex.

  • 29 Apr 2016 10:43:59

    Lyn: If you know there are rats about then don’t feed. The best thing to do is to look out for droppings.

    I would say that hedgehogs are extremely reliable in their habits and will usually visit a garden at the same time every night. If you know what time this is, and it’s a reasonable time e.g. 10 pm, then you could wait until just before to put the food out, and then collect the dish back in once the hedgehog has left. This won’t be possible for everyone, but it is an option.

  • 29 Apr 2016 10:44:38

    Lyn: If you know there are rats about then don’t feed. The best thing to do is to look out for droppings.

    I would say that hedgehogs are extremely reliable in their habits and will usually visit a garden at the same time every night. If you know what time this is, and it’s a reasonable time e.g. 10 pm, then you could wait until just before to put the food out, and then collect the dish back in once the hedgehog has left. This won’t be possible for everyone, but it is an option.

  • James Barclay:

    04 May 2016 14:02:58

    In an earlier message for Angela Latham I mentioned looking for the Hedgehog rescue society. This doesn’t come up on google. The actual website is www.brentlodge.org near Chichester, Sussex

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