The worrying thing about Hedgehogs in the UK is the fact that in 1950 there were an estimates 30 million and as of 2012 this had reduced to less than 1 million, I’m that many of the more senior age group will remember the days when it was almost impossible not to find our friendly creatures in the garden. Now, it’s a rarity.
The reasons for this are quite plentiful; road building through the 1960′s and ever since, new housing developments without much attention to conserving and protecting our wildlife, the vast reduction in hedgerow with houses now tending to go toward fencing and of course, road kill.
The are many ways to help attract Hedgehogs, not only for food but for overnight housing, housing for them to raise their new borns and just allowing them more freedom of movement.
Here’s a few ideas..
Suitable housing can be either purchased or made by using all sorts of materials.
The ‘Hogitat’ is a product which will blend well into most gardens and quite camouflaged if put in some overgrowth or hedgerow, (for more info click here)
For more ‘privacy’ you can stack twigs and old leafs over it.
The other way is to build one. The inner compartment should be about 12″ square with, if possible, a small tunnel entrance. Almost any old wood will do (to see two of mine click here).
The Hedgehog Highway
Hedgehogs are nomads and can travel over a mile a night quite easily. A big problem has been in modern fencing and walling not allowing them a way through. Cutting or making a 5″ hole somewhere along a length will give them the freedom they deserve, allow them to find food more easily and even find a partner!
With some increasing awareness of the problems, you can now purchase Food from most Pet Shops and Garden Centres. The alternative is to use Cat Food, but not Chicken flavour. Leaving food out with water close by and possibly close to a Hog Home will attract any within the area. It may take time but once they know it’s there, you’ll be on their route almost nightly!
Have we got Hedgehogs visiting our Garden?
There are two ways to find out;
1. Spend a few nights patrolling, you’ll hear them going through the dry leafs, scuffling and scraping as they go, maybe hearing the odd snort or two!
2. Look for their droppings. These are about 5cms long, virtually black and if fresh, shiny.
These are just a few things we can do to ensure a better future for a very important and desirable creature. Don’t take any notice about the fact they are usually full of fleas, these die as soon as they drop off a Hedgehog so would not pass over to you or your Pets.
For more information and ways to help them, go to The Hedgehog Preservation Society Web Site