Now that Spring has finally arrived, Hamworthy hedgehogs are stirring. We’ve never seen any hedgehogs in Hamworthy park. But if you have, let us know!
Here are 8 top tips from our friends at Hamworthy Hedgehog Rescue to make your garden a hedgehog haven.
To encourage hedgehogs to stay in or near your garden ensure they have a fresh supply of water available. Put some shallow dishes at different points in the garden and keep them topped up – especially in very hot weather. It’s great for other wildlife too.
Yes please – leave a dish of hedgehog food, meaty cat or dog food or cat biscuits, in a place where the hedgehog can get it, but not the local cats (see pic for ideas to keep the cats out).
No thank you – Mealworms, sunflower hearts or peanuts are bad for hedgehogs. As is cows milk and bread.
Hedgehogs need a gap or hole in your fence to be able to get into your garden in the first place. Leave a hole in fences or newly constructed walls so the hedgehogs can come and go.
4. Hedgehog houses
You can buy hedgehog houses from garden centres or online, but it’s just as easy to make your own with a pile of logs and leaves…and saves a trip to the tip with that garden waste.
5. Hog proof your pond and garden
Hedgehogs love water but can easily fall into a garden pond or paddling pool. Make sure there is a ramp or some plastic coated wire to help them get out. Similarly, make sure any garden netting is raised off the ground so hedgehogs don’t get caught. Holes are another hedgehog no-no as they can easily fall in. Fill in any holes or cover them over.
6. Check and double check
Hedgehogs love piles of leaves, compost heaps and long grass -they all make comfy hog homes. So before you get your fork or strimmer out, check the area for hedgehogs. The same goes for bonfires -check the pile or, even better, use a garden incinerator instead.
7. Dogs and hogs
Dogs are inquisitive and soon learn the hard way to keep their noses away from hedgehogs! But it can still be stressful for the hedgehog. Try turning on an outside light a few minutes before letting the dog out to give any hedgehogs time to get out of the way. Or if your hog has a set routine, make sure to keep the dog in when it’s hedgehog time.
8. What should I do if I disturb a hedgehog nest?
If you do accidentally disturb a nest with a single adult hedgehog in it, replace the nesting material. The hedgehog can then either repair the nest or build another elsewhere. If the disturbed hedgehog is hibernating and wakes up, a dish of dog food and some water each night until it starts hibernating again would be helpful. If there are babies in the nest, replace the nesting material, handling the nest as little as possible so as not to leave your smell on it. Keep an eye on the nest to see if mum returns. If there is no sign of her by the next morning telephone Hamworthy hedgehog rescue for advice on 07587 925476.
Tempting as it may be, do not allow friends, children etc to uncover the nest for a peep.
So there you have it. The above are ways to help visiting hedgehogs as they pass through your garden. But the best way to actively encourage them into your garden is to provide easy access, good food, and cosy nesting sites.
If you find an injured hedgehog, you can contact Hamworthy Hedgehog Rescue on 07587 925476, or catch them on Facebook to see all the great work they do.