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PostSubject: Things you can do to help…   Sun Jul 07, 2013 9:53 am

The best ways of helping hedgehogs is by helping them to avoid man-made hazards and providing them with suitable places to nest, especially in the winter.

Colder nights and getting ready for hibernation

As the nights get colder and the natural food available for hedgehogs depletes, the hedgehogs need to gain weight ready for hibernation. You can help by leaving out some meat based cat or dog food (either chicken or rabbit flavour but not fish flavoured) and / or some cat / kitten biscuits along with a bowl of water (not cow’s milk). This will help supplement their natural diet and allow them to put on fat reserves to help them survive the winter and hibernation.

Pesticides and pellets - use alternatives

Pesticides and pellets can be dangerous to hogs causing internal damage and even if not directly eaten, they can still be indirectly affected by being absorbed by the food they eat. So please try to use natural methods in the garden. Why not try a beer trap for those slugs instead of pellets?

The hedgehog is known as ‘the gardener’s friend’ as it will eat slugs, beetles, caterpillars etc. and does no harm, so if you have a garden a hedgehog is to be encouraged. They should not be kept in closed captivity, but regarded as welcome visitors.

Netting - use with caution

Hedgehogs are curious and get easily tangled in netting which in most cases leads to amputation. This could result in the hedgehog dying or having to be put to sleep. Please keep netting around 12" off the ground and keep it taught so little legs can't become entangled in it.

Ponds - make them hog friendly

Hedgehogs can swim but they can also drown if they cannot get out of a pond. Please ensure that there are gentle slopes around the edges for them to be able to get out or maybe some rocks for them to climb out on.

Long grass

Long grass is great for a wildlife garden but if you do decide to cut it, please look out for anything that might be living there as a hedgehog doesn't have much chance against a strimmer or a mower.

Compost heaps

Make a great place for a hog to snuggle down into so always check for hedgehogs before sticking a spade or a fork into your compost

Litter - bin it, don't find me in it!

Tins, jars and those horrible 4 pack plastic rings are all a danger for hedgehogs as they explore they may get stuck in them. It’s always best to bin it rather than find a hedgehog in it!

Potential pits

Keep drains covered so that hedgehogs do not become stuck down them.

Don't lock me in

Keep shed, greenhouse and garage doors closed at night so hedgehogs are not tempted to make a nest in them and perhaps become trapped when doors are permanently closed.

Leave something out for me

A meat based cat or dog food, either chicken or rabbit flavour, or dried hedgehog food or cat biscuits. Chopped unsalted peanuts, sunflower hearts, chopped apple, digestive biscuits, and especially dried meal worms, oh and some water as well but not cow’smilk.

Create a wildlife garden

A wildlife garden, including some long grass and wild flowers left to grow creates a whole new world in your garden. This is great for a whole variety of insects which then benefits the birds and mammals. It's a place for your hedgehog to explore, feel secure and also to dine out in!

Create a woodpile

A woodpile may give the hedgehog a place to nest but it also as the wood rots down it will become covered by moss and full of insects which is what they need.

Plant or keep a hedge instead of a fence

Hedges create wonderful wildlife corridors and also allow mammals to roam between gardens freely. They also provide berries and fruits for wildlife as well as nesting places for birds and mammals such as hogs. If you do install a fence or a wall, try to provide a hole so hedgehogs can continue to pass from your garden into your neighbour’s gardens without difficulty.

Hibernating hedgehogs

To attract wildlife to your garden, leave wild areas and avoid tidying up too much. Hedgehogs tend to hibernate between November and mid March and may choose the stack of leaves or branches in your garden. If you have to get rid of these materials move them to a different spot before disposing of them - a hedgehog may be sheltering or hibernating in it. They like to nest under things such as sheds, hedges and brushwood and they need plenty of dry leaves to build their nest. Or even better keep those piles of leaves and branches where they are.

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