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Hedgehogs in your Garden

Hedgehogs in your Garden


Hedgehogs have always been a favourite of gardeners and nature lovers. Their familiar appearance with inquisitive face and spines, and inclusion in children’s books such as Beatrix Potter’s Mrs Tiggywinkle has endeared them to everyone. Although they are a familiar sight in gardens across the UK, recent research has indicated a sharp decline in their numbers due to a variety of factors that are not fully known at this stage. But you can help to reverse this trend by providing a habitat for Hedgehogs in your garden.

Are Hedgehogs in my area? There are a number of species of hedgehogs across the world, but the one we know and love is the European Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus), which is widely distributed across the UK and Ireland on farmland and in urban areas, but less common on moors and highlands. Hedgehogs are primarily nocturnal, so it is not always apparent whether they are living in your garden or area. There are many ways to check for their presence – look for their footprints in mud or their poo on lawns which is black and about 2cm to 5cm in length, check for their paths through lawns or undergrowth or sit out at dusk and you might catch a glimpse. Hedgehogs can travel up to 2 miles every night, so it is good to provide them with many ways in and out of your garden. Planting native hedging such as hawthorn rather than using fences is the best way of providing access as well as a great habitat, but you can also leave small gaps at the base of fences and gates to ensure they can make their way from garden to garden.

Can they live in my garden? Hedgehogs can be encouraged to your garden by providing an environment that they like. Leave an area of the garden to grow naturally, with long grass (a pocket meadow would be ideal!) and shrubs for protection. You could also include a log pile habitat which will attract their natural food of slugs, snails and insects. They will also be happy to stay in your garden during the day and over winter if you provide some cover by way of a hedgehog home. Nature Station will help you to help hedgehogs by providing a selection of great homes that have been specially made by our friends at Wildlife World (click to see more details):

Igloo Hedgehog Home NS_Habitats 016 - Small Hogilo Hedgehog Home

How can I help? You can attract more hedgehogs and further help hedgehogs to survive by providing our special hedgehog food to supplement their natural diet. Provide drinking water in your garden. A pond is a great source of water for hedgehogs, but make sure that there are shelving edges at the side of the pond in case your hedgehog falls in. Alternatively, use a bowl:

Hedgehog Snack Bowl

Once you have hedgehogs, they provide a natural deterrent against slugs and snails. Don’t be tempted to use slug pellets – there are natural alternatives available. Piles of leaves and wood may harbour a hedgehog – check before turning with a fork or setting fire. On 5th November, it is a good idea to relocate the bonfire before lighting. Litter is dangerous to hedgehogs – food cans and plastic containers can trap them, as can plastic rings that hold cans together. Garden netting can also be a danger. If you find a hedgehog that is ill or in trouble follow the advice of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and then contact them for further guidance.

Useful Contacts British Hedgehog Preservation Society -