Over the last two decades, at least half of the population of our native hedgehogs have been lost from the British countryside. There are many reasons to why the species are in trouble such as the intensification of agriculture with the loss of hedgerows and grasslands and the use of pesticides which reduce the amount of prey available to hedgehogs. To help protect this iconic creature, Hedgehog Street, (a public action campaign ran by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and People’s Trust for Endangered Species) have produced a list of top ten tips that anyone can do to help the hedgehog population.
- Link your garden to your neighbouring gardens – Hedgehogs can travel a mile per night so they need space to roam. You can do this with a 13cm x 13cm hole in the fence!
- Make your pond Hedgehog friendly with a ramp – Hedgehogs are good swimmers but can struggle getting out of ponds.
- Create a wild corner in your garden – Let plants and weeds grow freely and don’t cut them back in winter. Hedgehogs will appreciate the cover and the insects that live there will make for a great meal!
- Make sure your garden is litter free – Hedgehogs can easily get caught in netting and litter.
- Feed Hedgehogs – They normally eat insects such as beetles, worms and slugs but you can supplement their diet by leaving out meaty cat or dog food or even specialised hedgehog food (a bowl of water would be welcomed too, especially during the summer).
- Stop using chemicals in the garden – They are toxic to hedgehogs and reduce their food supply.
- Check before strimming and mowing – They may not run away from the sound of machinery. Checking when gardening will avoid deaths and injuries.
- Be careful with bonfires – Piles of wood are attractive to hogs looking to nest or hibernate. Build bonfires on the day of burning or move the pile to avoid any tragedies!
- Make a home for Hedgehogs – A log pile will provide nesting and encourage insects.
- Become a Hedgehog champion! – Register on Hedgehog Street. They will provide you with all the resources you need to encourage hogs in your area.
Source: Change.org – 10 top tips to help hedgehogs / PTES