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Ted votes HEDGEHOGPrint
Link up your gardens
Hedgehogs need to be able to move freely from one garden to the next. There simply isn’t enough food in the average garden to sustain them. In fact, it’s thought that they travel on average a mile a night to forage for food. If their journey is blocked by fences, they are often forced out onto the road, where they have to negotiate the traffic. Every year, thousands of hedgehogs are killed in this way. So, have a word with your neighbours and try to make a wildlife corridor all the way up your street. Either cut a 5 inch square hole in the bottom of your fence or hollow out a small tunnel underneath it, to allow your hedgehog to safely move onto the next garden.
Make a mess
A neat and tidy garden is a joy to behold but it’s the hedgehog’s worst nightmare! Try to create a wild corner in your garden with long grass, brambles, log piles or mounds of leaves to attract insects. Hedgehogs love to snuffle around for beetles, earthworms, caterpillars, slugs and snails.
Simply leaning a piece of wood against a wall or fence can help to provide some welcome shelter. Or, you can make your very own hedgehog home – it’s easier than you think! Use the plan from ‘St. Tiggywinkles’ website. Ideally, use untreated wood and stand it on a rubber door mat with holes in it. This will provide some insulation and allow drainage so that it doesn’t become waterlogged. Place it in a quiet, shady corner of the garden e.g. behind a shed or under a hedge or large shrub. Try to camouflage it with twigs etc. so that just the entrance is visible. Dried leaves, sawdust, straw or shredded newspaper all make good bedding material. Make a slope Hedgehogs can swim and are sometimes attracted to garden ponds, but they may drown if they cannot get out. If you have a garden pond, try to make sure that the sides have a gentle slope to allow hedgehogs to climb out. You can make a simple slope with some pebbles.
Try to avoid using slug pellets if you can but, if you do use them, then opt for the organic type which contain ferric (iron) phosphate e.g. Sluggo. Please apply them sparingly!
Offer food and drink
This is particularly important in autumn, when hedgehogs are fattening up before going into hibernation and in spring when they are just waking up. You could put out meat-flavoured (not fish) dried dog or cat food. Get a lidded plastic box and cut out a 5 inch hole at one end. Place the food in a shallow dish at the other end (so that cats can’t reach) and put a couple of bricks on top to weight it down. There are lots of examples on You Tube. If you are still worried about feeding the local cat population, then place the entrance of the box 5 inches away from a wall or fence. Hedgehogs would also appreciate some fresh water. Never leave out bread and milk for hedgehogs – it makes them very ill.