TDEG member, Nicky, shares her success in encouraging hedgehogs to her local garden. Just a few simple measures and Nicky and her partner have created a `hedgehog heaven’. In this post, Nicky shares their secrets and explains why she believes it is so important to protect this iconic species.
“In the last 20 years hedgehog numbers in the UK have plummeted by 50% in rural areas and 30% in urban areas. These alarming declines are a result of various factors with one common thread: human impact. Habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as roadkill and agricultural intensification, are directly contributing to the catastrophic decline of this well-loved and ecologically important species. In the current biodiversity crisis, we wanted do all we could to protect this native UK species in our local area.
We discovered we had a hedgehog visiting our garden to drink out of a water bowl back in 2019. So we then did all we could to encourage more hedgehogs into the garden. We believe we now have between six and eight individuals visiting regularly. We take great pleasure following their antics using infra red trail cameras set up around the garden (the two images below are from our videos shot with these cameras).”
What worked for us?
- Fresh, clean water in shallow dishes alongside a feeding station that only the hedgehogs can access.
- Free movement into and out of our garden by restoring ‘hedgehog highways’.
- Leaving a small area of our garden untended.
“Since we saw our first hedgehog in 2019, we have left an area of our garden untended, and avoided mowing the lawn until the end of May (as it harbours their food sources such as beetles and insects). “
“We also removed all the unnecessary boundary fencing around the garden, to allow hedgehogs to roam freely through our patch.
We have a large hedgehog box which the hogs use either as a summertime day bed or for hibernation over the winter. We also added a small hedgehog feeding station next to the water bowl. We picked the Hutch Company hedgehog house and feeder as it is really well made and has a baffle which stops cats etc. from eating the food. We feed the hogs all year round as recommended and use a combination of the specialist semi-moist and dry hedgehog food (Spike’s Hedgehog Food).
The number of hogs visiting the garden has increased significantly since we added all these features. We love to watch them on the trail cameras we have positioned around the garden. It is difficult to tell them apart, but we think we now have between 6 and 8 hedgehogs of different shapes and sizes visiting most nights.”
“We feel we have made a real difference to the number of hedgehogs in our area.”
If you would like more information about how to encourage hedgehogs into your garden, do have a look at the British Hedgehog Preservation Society’s web site. And do send us any photos of visitors to your gardens.
If you find any injured hedgehogs or young hogs still roaming when they should be hibernating, you can contact our local Ashford’s Animal Rescue and Rehab. Run by Kirstie, who works closely with Bakewell Vets, they are based in Ashford-in-the-Water, DE45 1QE (Tel: 07853 987378 or email email@example.com) and on Facebook.