Make your garden a hedgehog haven
October 14, 2019
Have you got a hedgehog in your garden? If you have, you might be wondering how best to care for its needs as it gears up for winter hibernation. Here at All Creatures Healthcare we’re big fans of these prickly little critters and can offer plenty of information and advice.
If you’re not sure whether you’re playing host to a nocturnal forager, we’ve also got some tips on how to spot that they’re around. Whatever your query, our head nurse Sarah and the team are here to help as ever.
Making your garden a hedgehog haven
Because hedgehogs love to snack on slugs, caterpillars and beetles, they are pest control experts, so if you have a vegetable patch try to avoid using chemicals and let them do the job for you.
The likes of cherry trees are a particular favourite haunt as the hogs will eat fallen fruit, along with the insects that come with it. The dropped leaves also make for excellent nesting and hibernating material, as do long grasses.
A fresh source of water is essential for hedgehogs, so provide a little bowl or similar for them to drink from. If you have a shallow pond, that will do the trick too as long as they can easily climb down to and up from the water’s edge.
You can boost their diet by creating a feeding station and leaving out some meat-based pet food – never feed them bread or milk as this will make them ill.
A wood pile is a perfect place for hedgehogs to rest and will attract some of their favourite foods too.
Determining whether you have a hedgehog
They’re pretty elusive creatures and because they’re nocturnal you might not easily spot their presence. But there are some tell-tale signs:
Droppings – these are about 1.5cm-5cm long, compact, very dark in colour and may resemble a slug.
Tracks – if you can see them they should be obvious as the front toes are usually splayed while the back ones are long and thin.
Tunnels – hedgehogs are likely to leave a trail through the undergrowth from their nocturnal foragings.
Noise – they can be quite audible, especially in the spring when they’re looking for a mate. If you go into your garden at night you might hear them as they snuffle around.
Hedgehog numbers have been declining for a while now, so anything you can do to encourage their wellbeing is a good thing. Remember, our team of nurses are just a phone call away on 01603 898984 if you have any questions. Or you can contact us online.