Hedgehog numbers are falling in the UK, and it’s though that urbanisation and growing badger numbers are to blame. A new video produced by Chester Zoo shows you easy ways to make your garden more hedgehog friendly.
If you’re a keen gardener hedgehogs are useful to have around, as they eat snails, slugs and insects. You can encourage them to visit your garden and keep them safe by following these simple tips.
- Make your garden accessible. If you want hedgehogs to visit your garden, they need to get in! Cut a 12cm hole in the bottom of your fence, or dig a small tunnel going under your fence (with your neighbour’s permission of course).
- Create a sheltered area. The name “hedgehog” is quite accurate — they love hiding under hedges and bushes. You can also make them feel at home by making or buying a simple hedgehog house.
- Make sure there is plenty of food. Hedgehogs eat snails, slugs and insects. Keep an area of your garden slightly untidy, with leaf litter and a log pile to attract plenty of creepy crawlies. You could even build an insect hotel. You can also put out food to attract hedgehogs — the RSPCA recommends minced meat, tinned dog or cat food (not fish-based), crushed cat biscuits or chopped boiled eggs. Never give hedgehogs milk, as it can make them ill — leave out a shallow dish of water instead.
- Make your garden safe. Cover up drains and other holes, pack away things like football nets when they’re not in use, give hedgehogs an ‘escape route’ at the side of your pond, and don’t place slug pellets where a hedgehog could get to them.