Ensuring your garden is hedgehog-friendly

We’re advocates of the elderly getting out into their garden as much as possible. We have lots of blog posts here on our website full of helpful advice on gardening and attracting wildlife.

Garden hedgehog

Hedgehogs numbers have plummeted in the UK by more than a third during the last 10 years, so it is crucial that gardeners do their bit to help the dwindling population.

If you’ve been lucky enough to attract hedgehogs to your garden, we’ve put together some helpful tips on ensuring they stay safe and well when visiting.

The spikey critters are allies of the gardener as they eat slugs, snails and other pests, so you would be wise to dedicate some of your plot to their needs.

It’s a good idea to keep a section of your garden a little bit wild to attract hedgehogs. They’ll happily make homes for themselves amongst piles of wood and under mounds of leaves. If you don’t want to keep the entire garden wild, then a dedicated spot would be good.

Keep ponds and steep-sided holes covered as best you can to avoid coming across any trapped hedgehogs. Hedgehogs can swim but can’t tread water for hours, so build a makeshift escape route.

Food will encourage hedgehogs to keep coming back. You can leave out items such as minced meat and tinned dog or cat food. If you want to provide something really special, you can add crushed cat biscuits or chopped boiled eggs to the menu.

Despite the tradition, you shouldn’t feed hedgehogs with milk. Instead, provide fresh water in a shallow bowl.

Check for your spikey friends before mowing the lawn or using strimmers. Also look in compost heaps for any nesting hedgehogs and always check bonfires thoroughly before lighting.

Give hedgehogs an easy route into your garden. Create a gap of around 12cm in a wall or fence for the animals to get through. You could even team up with your neighbours to make the whole street easy to access for the animals as they can travel up to one mile per night.

Spending time in your garden is a great way to see lots of wildlife. If the weather is getting too chilly, you can even watch from the window instead. It’s also a great opportunity to take some quiet time and reflect, which is beneficial to your mental wellbeing.

For more help and advice on hedgehogs in your garden, head to the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.