Make a hedgehog a home
- Leave areas of your garden ‘wild’, with piles of leaf litter and logs. These are an attractive nest as well as a home for the invertebrates (slugs, beetles) that hedgehogs like to eat.
- Making an artificial home can be as simple as placing a piece of board against a wall. Or buy a purpose built hedgehog house.
Make sure there are hedgehog-sized gaps in your garden fence. In a single night, a hedgehog can travel 2 to 3 km. A 13cm/5″ gap should allow even the largest hedgehog though.
Food and fresh water will encourage hedgehogs to return. Leave out foods like tinned dog or cat food (not fish-based), crushed cat biscuits, or chopped boiled eggs. Specialist hedgehog food can also be bought from wild bird food suppliers.
If you are worried about encouraging other (unwanted) animals to your garden you can create a ‘hedgehog feeding station’:
- Get a plastic storage box about 30cm wide by 45cm long (or bigger)
- Either use it with the lid on, or turn the box upside down. Cut a 10cm to 13cm hole in one of the short ends.
- Tape around the cut-out hole
- Hedgehogs can be messy eaters, so put plenty of newspaper on the floor of the box
- Put the food at the opposite end so a fox or cat cannot put their long arm in and pull out the food
- Put a brick or heavy weight on top of the box, to stop it being knocked over or the lid pulled off.
- If cats or foxes still try to get in, then place the box about 15cm away from a wall (with the entrance facing towards the wall)
Never feed hedgehogs milk as it can cause diarrhoea; instead provide plain, fresh water in a shallow bowl.
- Cover drains and holes and place bricks at the side of ponds to give hedgehogs an easy route out. Cover swimming pools overnight and when not in use.
- Check for hedgehogs before using strimmers or mowers, particularly under hedges where hedgehogs may be resting. Check compost heaps for nesting hogs before forking over.
- Build bonfires as close to time of lighting as possible and check them thoroughly before lighting.
- Remove sports or fruit netting when not in use to prevent hedgehogs becoming entangled, and getting injured.
These can poison hedgehogs. Try using beer traps or sprinkling ground up shells around the plants you need to protect. Try using a garlic wash to protect your plants.
2 Bulbs of garlic
2 Pints of water
Crush the garlic bulbs
Steam or boil in 2 pints of water for 3 to 4 minutes until blanched
Strain the mixture and make back up to 2 pints
Leave to cool
When ready to use, mix one tablespoon of the mixture in five litres of water and sprinkle on to leaves in late afternoon (in dry weather). Re-apply every two weeks. The mixture dries on the leaves making them unappealing to slugs and snails!