Hedgehogs – our country’s favourite animal
Important facts to know:
Hedgehog populations have decreased dramatically in the past twenty years, (by 50% in rural areas and by 30% in urban areas). They are now classified in the UK as ‘vulnerable’.
Hedgehogs hibernate in November and come out again in March.
Babies are usually born in May and June.
Hedgehogs eat snails and slugs so they are definitely a gardener’s friend.
They can travel up to 2km each night.
Make your garden more friendly for hedgehogs:
Food and water
Cover and check
Post your sightings
During the month of May we are asking people to post details of their hedgehog sightings on the Wilder Hyde Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/WilderHyde/. Photos or videos or just the information! This way we can share sightings and learn more about our local hedgehog friends. It’s a lovely time of year to spot hedgehogs as babies are usually born during this month. If you don’t want to share on social media, you can fill in a May sightings calendar sheet and return it to Wilder Hyde at the end of month.
Hedgehog spotting tips
Don’t forget you’re more likely to see them from dusk. Or you could check for little tracks in the dew or tunnels in the undergrowth in the morning. If you were feeling even more adventurous, you could create a tracking tunnel.
Have a look a tracking tunnels HERE.
Thank you for helping us protect our hedgehogs!
With grateful thanks from everyone at Wilder Hyde.
For more ideas, please check out these websites too:
Leaving food for hedgehogs is a good way to attract them into your garden. This food can supplement their natural diet, but is also important in dry summers when the ground can become very hard preventing them digging for worms or beetles, or just as they are preparing for hibernation.
Our main tips would be:
Speciality hedgehog food. There are a number of online outlets selling dried food such as Wild Things, Spikes or Brambles.
Dried cat food. In our experience this works really well. We’ve also found that hogs enjoy the cheaper brands such as Tesco and often neighbourhood cats won’t be as interested! Stick to beef or poultry flavours rather than fish.
Wet cat or dog food. Hogs really like this, but be aware that wet food often attracts other animals as well as flies.
It is important to leave out fresh water for hedgehogs too, especially when feeding them dry food. Please use shallow dishes as this allows the hogs easy access and reduces the risk to young hoglets.
Do not feed hedgehogs milk as this is not good for them. Similarly more than a couple of mealworms can also be harmful
Hedgehog Feeding Areas
It’s important to try to keep hedgehog food dry – if you’ve ever seen dried cat food that has gotten wet then you’ll understand how unappetising it is! Also, it’s important to keep food and water trays clean and that’s also easier if the area has been dry. If you have a covered area in your garden then this is ideal.
Another great idea is to create a hedgehog feeding station. This will keep the food dry and potentially keep other unwanted visitors from the food.
Hedgehogs In Your Garden
There are a number of ways to help make your garden hedgehog-friendly
Hedgehog Holes and Highways
Hedgehogs can roam up to 2km every night so it’s important that they can access a wide range of gardens for feeding and shelter. In order to link your garden to alleyways and other gardens, it’s recommended to create a hole in your fence or wall of around 13cm x 13cm, which will allow hogs through whilst keeping out most other pets. It’s also important to keep the hole unblocked at all times.
Create a Wild Corner or Logpile
Leaving an area of your garden wild may give your hedgehogs some shelter or they may even nest there. They’ll also benefit from any insects that are attracted to the area. Another similar idea is to create a logpile.
Be careful when strimming or building bonfires, just in case there is a hedgehog hidden away. Also, please try to make your ponds safe. Hedgehogs are adept swimmers, but if they can’t climb out of steep-sided ponds or pools they will drown. Use a pile of stones, a piece of wood or some chicken wire to create a simple ramp.