Seven Tips to Help Hungry Hedgehogs SurviveOctober 18, 2019
Last modified: October 18, 2019Hedgehogs' number continues to fall in Britain — from a recorded 30 million in the '50s to only a million at present. Start helping hedgehogs survive!
Hedgehogs’ population continues to fall in Britain — from a recorded number of 30 million in the ’50s to only a million at present. This fact can be alarming since these prickly animals play a vital part in our ecosystem.
So, one of the best things we can do is welcome and help them survive in our gardens. As many as ten different hedgehogs can visit any one garden over the course of a few nights, so it’s important to try and help them thrive in the great outdoors.
If you have no idea where to start, our garden experts have compiled some of the simplest yet best ways to helping hedgehogs survive and saving their population from constant decline.
Hedgehogs are known to be good swimmers. However, they can often drown if caught by surprise. So, it’s best to cover drains and holes as well as place bricks around your garden pond to stop hedgehogs from being caught out.
To keep them away from harm, you can also check under hedges before using strimmers and lawnmowers. Ensure that there aren’t any hedgehogs hidden in compost to help keep them safe too.
To help hungry hedgehogs survive, you can also leave a little dish of dog or cat food for them in the garden. Place it in a quiet, covered area around dusk to help keep their bellies full at night.
3. Water dish
Aside from food, you can also give the hedgehogs access to clean water by leaving freshwater in shallow, non-tip dishes. However, never use milk as it can upset their tummies.
4. Handle with care
If you ever find a hedgehog which you believe to be hurt, it’s best to contact a specialist group in your area to ensure its survival.
You can also place a cardboard box with high sides to keep them safe, lining it with a towel and scrunched up a newspaper where the hedgehogs is safe and protected. However, make sure to wear a thick pair of gardening gloves before gently scooping one up and putting it in the box.
If the hedgehog looks cold or sick, you can give it a hot water bottle too, wrapped in a tea towel to snuggle up to.
5. Clean up
Clear away rubbish in your garden to stop hedgehogs from trying to climb into bin liners in search of food.
Though humans delight in a tidy, well-kept garden, hedgehogs won’t thank you for it. It is best to leave overgrown corners in your yard for the hedgehogs to come and hide while trying to snuffle for insects.
If you are willing to make an extra effort to help hedgehogs, you can install a home for them to stay in. You can either buy ready-made hedgehog houses or simply turn a waste bin, wooden box, or plant pot upside down. Cut a little doorway to let them enter while still keeping their predators out.
You can also place stones on top of the house to prevent it from being blown over. Fill it with leaves to attract the hedgehogs more as well as encourage slugs and beetles – an easy food for these spiny mammals.