Top 5 ways to help hedgehogs this autumn

13 September 2018 | Posted in Wildlife Garden , Charlotte Owen
Top 5 ways to help hedgehogs this autumn
Hugh Clark FRPS

By Charlotte Owen

WildCall Officer

With the nights beginning to draw in hedgehogs are now preparing for hibernation. This means they’ll be busy ensuring they have enough fuel to survive through to the Spring.

Here are five ways you can help your local hedgehogs this autumn:

1. Ensure there are holes in fences

Hedgehogs can travel up to 2 km a night foraging for food. Being able to pass easily through gardens will help keep them safe from busy roads and provide access to a wider variety of food sources so they can fatten up ready for the winter months.

2. Avoid using slug pellets

Slugs are one of the main food sources for hedgehogs, so if you kill them off hedgehogs will struggle to survive. If you encourage hedgehogs into your garden they’ll do the hard work for you!

3. Check your bonfires

Bonfire piles are very attractive to nesting hedgehogs, so it's best to build and burn bonfires on the same day to avoid tragedy. If this isn’t possible gently search though the bonfire with a rake or spade before burning to make sure any wildlife can escape, or move the pile before you set it alight.

4. Be aware of common hazards

Garden ponds can be death traps for hedgehogs, so ensure they have gently sloping sides, or a plank of wood leading out of the pond, as a means of escape. Any netting, wiring or string should be kept above ground so hedgehogs can go underneath rather than becoming entangled.

5. Supplementary feeding

Hedgehogs need to fatten up ready to hibernate through the winter and will appreciate a bowl of meaty cat or dog food, either wet or dry, and a drink of fresh water to wash it down. You can create a feeding station by cutting a small hole in a plastic storage box and weighing the lid down with a brick, to stop cats and foxes taking it.  Never feed bread or milk as these cause an upset stomach.

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  • Roz:

    15 Sep 2018 13:44:00

    I found a hedgehog in the front garden nesting under a pile of leaves between the wall and a fern. I have been feeding with semi moist spikes dinner hedgehog food every day and there is a plentiful supply of slugs! Will this be sufficient protection for winter hibernation or do I need to do more to protect the nest?

  • Ann Pendry:

    17 Sep 2018 17:09:00

    We have covered our pile of logs/twigs/leaves/moss’s with a piece of tarpaulin to keep out the rain. Your hog may move into a more weatherproof hibernation nest any way.

  • Kay maplethorpe:

    17 Sep 2018 19:36:00

    I feed about 6 hedgehogs a night
    My friend has built a hedgehog house for them hope they use it

  • Kay maplethorpe:

    17 Sep 2018 19:37:00

    I feed about 6 hedgehogs a night
    My friend has built a hedgehog house for them hope they use it

  • frances elworthy:

    17 Sep 2018 21:09:00

    when do l stop leaving food out

  • 18 Sep 2018 16:08:22

    Our advice is to offer hedgehog food, meaty cat or dog food, cat biscuits and water for hedgehogs up until they hibernate if you are supplementary feeding

  • Christina Budd:

    19 Sep 2018 18:11:00

    Ifeed hedgehogs at night with dried mealworm and cat food every night, a house has been made for them I hope they use it

  • Rosamund Carpenter:

    19 Sep 2018 19:31:00

    I have been feeding the hedgehogs from first sightings I the Spring…I feed them with special dry hedgehog food mixed with sunflower seeds, sultanas and bananas..Also Apple’s ..All chopped up small…..Too many cats around to use cat or dog food, though it would be much cheaper…I also have two igloo type hedgehog houses and also secure old files against walls and fill them with leaves….Would be grateful for any further tips..Thank you .

  • Janet fowle:

    20 Sep 2018 12:54:00

    How do I know if I have hedgehogs in my garden

  • Ros Carpenter:

    23 Sep 2018 18:45:00

    One of my hogs is quite small…As I mentioned earlier…I put food out every night and there is also a small pond and other low water containers..I hope the small one will survive…

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