Hedgehogs are a something of a British institution! Whenever you consider British wildlife, the hedgehog invariably comes up. Sadly, recent mammal surveys have revealed that hedgehog numbers are in fast decline so any support that you can give your local population will help!
If you have a hedgehog visiting your garden and would like to encourage it stay, take the following steps:
- Put out a shallow bowl of fresh water every evening - NEVER leave out milk
- Provide a safe food source, such as mealworms and meat-based (not fish-based) pet food
- Do not use pesticides or slug pellets in your garden
- Check thoroughly for hedgehogs before mowing or strimming
- Build/buy a 'hedgehog haven'! You can find these in garden centres, or make one simply using a box. They can use these to hibernate or nest
Hedgehog numbers are declining for many reasons, but one reason is that due to the rise in urban populations, hedgehogs ranges are now broken up by fences and roads, resulting in too small an area for them to find the necessary food. A way to help combat this is to create small holes in the boundaries of your garden to allow easy access to other gardens. Take a look at this great website for more hints and tips.
It’s really important to think about hedgehogs at this time of the year as, with a drop in temperature, they can use all the help they can get in order to fatten up for hibernation. Hedgehogs must ensure they have enough fat and are large enough to hibernate, otherwise they are unlikely to survive the winter. If you find a small, young hedgehog in the lead up to winter it is advisable that you contact the Hedgehog Preservation Society as it may need specialist care to survive.
Please also always be aware of hedgehogs when lighting bonfires. As bonfires are usually prepared days, or sometimes weeks, in advance, hedgehogs looking for a warm place to hibernate can wander in. Before lighting bonfires always thoroughly check for hedgehogs and carefully remove any you find to a safe, secure area.
For more information about hedgehogs, and what you can do to support this remarkable creature, have look at the following websites:
Please be aware that we are not a Wildlife Centre and do not have the equipment or the expertise to help with injured or young hedgehogs. If you find an injured hedgehog we advise that you contact your local specialist or take it to your local vet. If you find a young hedgehog unable to hibernate, we advise that you contact the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, or your local wildlife centre.
Communications & Volunteer Manager