Recently voted as Britain’s best loved creatures, hedgehogs need our help! They are some of the most easily recognizable animals in the country, but in just the last 10 years, hedgehog numbers have fallen by 30%. This means they are disappearing from our countryside as fast as tigers are worldwide! This is largely because of our growing towns and cities, litter, roads and pesticides.
In this instalment of Backyard Safari, we’ll be looking at 5 top tips for how you can help preserve and support hedgehogs in the wild!
Go chemical free
Using chemical products like weed killer and pesticide in your gardens can often have an impact on the insects living there. Hedgehogs love to feast on worms, snails, and slugs, so maintaining healthy habitat is vital for happy hedgehogs!
Build a hedgehog highway
One of the biggest problems for hedgehogs, both in towns and the countryside, is the break down in safe ways for them to roam and look for food! Cutting a small arched hole in the bottom of your fence will allow hedgehogs to travel safety between gardens – they also love the protection of hedgerows!
Creating nesting sites
Hedgehogs have several natural predators, and as our towns grow, there are fewer and fewer places for them to hide! Adding a pile of logs to your garden will give hedgehogs a cozy and safe place to remain out of sight during the day. They also love big piles of leaves in the autumn to keep them warm.
Cover ditches and drains
Due to all the rain we get here in the UK, many gardens have open drains of varying sizes to prevent flooding. While this is great for the garden, hedgehogs are incredibly curious but actually have very poor eyesight! If you have drains, covering them with secured mesh will prevent these little creatures from accidentally falling in. Or, if you have a pond, be sure to provide an access point where hedgehogs can easily access the water without risk of drowning.
- Provide a feeding station
Leaving food out for hedgehogs can be a great way to help them thrive in the wild, although it’s important to do this in a way that doesn’t attract their predators! Many people leave out bowls of cat food, but this may attract cats or foxes. Placing bowls of meat based cat food inside an upturned plastic storage box with a hedgehog sized entry way cut into the side is a great way to secure the area.
If you’d like to get involved with hedgehog conservation, send us your own photos or videos showing how you’re helping from your own backyard safari!