Creating a hedgehog haven: What you can do to help your local hogs (and other animals too)
Wildlife flits in and out of your garden over the summer months and into autumn. There are a number of ways to help animals not only survive, but flourish. Making a garden animal friendly will help to attract all kinds of wildlife, with insects, birds and small mammals like hedgehogs seeing the garden as their own little haven. Sadly the number of hedgehogs and other species of wildlife in the UK is decreasing, take a look at the RSPB’s 2016 state of nature report for some worrying statistics. So follow these handy tips to welcome our prickly friends (and other wildlife) into your garden…
Make room for shelter
No matter what the season, having shelter is essential for all animals. As summer turns to autumn, hedgehogs will be looking to find their own safe place in which to build a nest. If you have a particularly tidy garden or there are few covered areas, hedgehogs and other small mammals will struggle to build their temporary home.
Whatever the size of your garden, you can still attract wildlife by creating ideal places for shelter. Hedging is just one of the ways to create a natural space for nesting wildlife. Hedgehogs and other small mammals use twigs and dead vegetation to build a nest, so instead of traditional fencing, low-hanging and slightly unkempt hedges are ideal spots for hedgehogs to make their homes.
Leave food and water dotted around
Another major part of survival for wildlife is food. The summer months bring an abundance of feasting opportunities in your garden, from hedges with berries and fruit trees, to softer soil making it easier for birds to find worms. Create a wildlife haven in your garden by choosing your hedging wisely. Berry and flower hedges attract all kinds of small animals whilst helping keep your garden colourful, and even offering some tasty treats for you to enjoy too.
To further entice hedgehogs, leave other foods dotted around your garden. Hedgehogs aren’t particularly fussy eaters and will munch on chicken or turkey flavoured cat/dog food, chopped nuts, cat biscuits, sultanas and more, but avoid leaving bread or milk as both foods are harmful to a hedgehog’s digestive system. Below you will find a link to a helpful video created by The Wildlife Gardening Project shows you how to help hedgehogs in your garden: http://www.wildlifegardenproject.com/videos/how-to-videos/174-how-to-help-hedgehogs-in-your-garden
Make sure you also provide fresh water for animals entering your garden. Keeping bird watering baths and small bowls of water on the ground for mammals is crucial to ensure that animals stay hydrated as the summer sun beams down.
Avoid pesticides and pellets
One of the biggest issues with many gardens when it comes to attracting wildlife is the use of pesticides. Where possible it is important to avoid using pesticides or pellets (such as those to deter slugs). The chemicals in these products are very harmful to wildlife, and small mammals like hedgehogs have been known to eat slug pellets mistakenly without realising their poisonous effects.
For more information on offering a helping hand to wildlife, stay tuned to our blog. And don’t forget to enter our #HedgesForHogs competition on Facebook to be in with the chance of winning a hedgehog helping pack including Rootgrow and hedgehog food. Get involved in making your garden hedgehog friendly and tweet @Best4Hedging with your photographs!