Hedgehogs are one of the most common garden mammals in Europe. It can be quite exciting to share your garden with these spiky little cuties!
Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, and their little adventures can lead them into people's gardens. If you would like to give a hedgehog (or more than one) a home, here is what you can do.
A hedgehog friendly garden
Hedgehog nests are usually quite large, made of moss, grass, leaves and other debris that is found in gardens. They can be under things like garden hedges or even piles of rubbish. If you would like to make your garden a little more "hedgehog friendly" just make sure that there is enough undergrowth and long grass where the hedgehogs can hide or nest in.
Make your garden a perfect place for things like slugs and other bugs. Hedgehogs love eating them. You can also provide them with extra food and water, especially in periods of drought. They have quite a varied diet, but do not give them bread or milk as it upsets their stomachs and they cannot digest it. Hedgehog food is their favourite (obviously!), but cat or dog food is fine, just make sure that it is high in protein. You could also give them things like beans, peas, corn, apples and carrots.
Remember, hedgehogs like to move from garden to garden. If you have a fence, you could make an opening into the next garden that will let them move around freely. (Make sure to check with your neighbour first in case you share the fence with them!)
Building a home
You can either choose to purchase a hedgehog box, or you can build one yourself! Check out this tutorial below to see how to make one:
Once you have your box, make sure to place it out of direct sunlight. Put it under cover and add thick vegetation on top to make it blend in and look a little more "homey" for our prickly little friends. If you have already found a hedgehog nest in your garden, then you can put the new one there, or in a similar environment.
It is important not to disturb the box, even if you are dying to know if it is being used or not. Try and resist the temptation!
Bonfire night is coming up soon! Read this article to know how to protect the precious wildlife against bonfires this year.
Have you ever had a hedgehog in your garden?