This hot weather has really wowed us in the UK, and while we love nothing more than sitting in the garden with a good book in our hand while soaking in the sunshine, it can be lethal to wildlife and small creatures. In our previous blog we talked about protecting pollinators such as bumblebees, butterflies and hoverflies, but this time we’re focusing on another animal which we’re sure you’ve probably seen scurrying around in the garden at some point; hedgehogs.
The hedgehog is the UK’s only spiny mammal and was voted Britain’s National species, however, in the last 10 years, we’ve lost a third of all our hedgehogs. This devastating news can only be turned around if we make a change and do our bit to save these little creatures. Helping them is an easy job and it won’t take too long, but it could potentially save a hedgehog life or two. You could also get the garden ‘hedgehog ready’ with the help of the kids or grandkids as a fun and educational task.
Create a ‘Hedgehog Hole’
First, make sure you’ve got a ‘hedgehog highway’ or ‘hedgehog hole’ in your garden fence, in fact making sure hedgehogs can pass freely through your garden is the most important thing you can do according to HedgehogStreet.org. A 13cm x 13cm opening is enough for any hedgehog to get through, but this will be too small for most pets such as cats and dogs. If you’ve got a wooden fence, then you can use a screwdriver or jigsaw to cut an entrance. Or you can dig a small channel underneath the wall, fence or gate. If you’re in the process of getting a ColourFence then simply ask your installer to add one to your fence and we will sort the rest.
Make a hedgehog home
If you’ve got a bit more time on your hands and you’d like to really do something special, then why not make your own hedgehog home… then watch to see who moves in! You can make a hedgehog house out of brick or untreated wood and fill it with leaves for them to nestle into.
Provide water for the Hedgehogs
If you’ve got a pond in your garden, then you may have already seen a hedgehog having a dip as they are surprisingly good swimmers! Just make sure the pond has a slope for them to get out (you can add stones, chicken wire, or even a hedgehog ladder to help) If you don’t have a pond or water supply in your garden then simply add a shallow bowl of water in the shade (preferably near the hedgehog hole). If you’d like to give the hedgehogs some food then they enjoy canned cat and dog food.
Doing some of these tasks won’t just enable these cute mammals to make full use of your garden, but it could save their life. Hedgehogs play a vital part in our ecosystem, they are deeply rooted in our culture and they will help protect your flowers as they eat snails, slugs and other pests. Please let us know if you do any of the suggestions, we would love to see some photos of happy hedgehogs in your garden!