How to Attract Hedgehogs to your Garden this Winter
Unfortunately, the number of hedgehogs in the UK is decreasing quickly. This is not good for all budding gardeners, as hedgehogs are well known for keeping slugs and other pests at bay. Hedgehogs are threatened by the increased use of pesticides and a loss of countryside. There are ways that you can make your garden a safe haven for hedgehogs this winter.
Here are our tips and ideas to help you attract hedgehogs to your garden.
Make sure that they have access.
One of the main issues with newly built houses is the lack of access that they allow for hedgehogs and other garden wildlife. Wooden fences slotted into concrete columns don’t leave any room for wildlife to walk in and out. The best options is to use hedges for privacy instead of fences, however this isn’t always an option.
The alternative would be to create a five inch hole in the bottom of your fence to allow hedgehogs into your garden. You could encourage your neighbours to do the same, so that hedgehogs have a series of gardens to explore and hunt for food.
Leave areas of your garden wild.
If possible, it is always good to leave an area of your garden naturally unkempt. Hedgehogs and other wildlife can then use debris such as fallen leaves, broken twigs and dead vegetation to build their nests. Wild areas also provide a home for insects, which hedgehogs and birds love to feed off.
Create a log pile in this area for hedgehogs to take shelter in. If you have a real Christmas tree then this is a great way to recycle it. Choose a quiet spot that is unlikely to be disturbed from November to March as this is when hedgehogs will be hibernating.
Provide hedgehogs with food and water.
It is crucial for a hedgehogs winter survival that they get enough food and water. Most adult hedgehogs eat around half of their weight in food each day. To help hedgehogs that were born later in the season with less body fat, you can leave out food in your garden.
Many homeowners make the mistake of leaving out cows milk for hedgehogs, however they are actually lactose intolerant, so this can give them an upset stomach and is potentially fatal. Instead leave out a bowl of water, hedgehogs drink lots overnight, so top this up each day. We have put together a list of safe foods that you can leave out for hedgehogs.
Food & drink safe and enjoyable for hedgehogs
- Boiled eggs
- Chicken or turkey flavoured cat or dog food in jelly (not fish or beef based, either wet or dry)
- Chopped nuts
- Cooked potatoes
- Crushed cat biscuits
- Dried mealworms
- Minced meat
- Specialist hedgehog food
- Sunflower hearts