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Small, round, brown and famously covered in spines, the hedgehog is one of the most familiar of Britain's wild mammals.

Hedgehogs are most commonly spotted in parks and gardens, where bushes and hedges provide the perfect day-time getaway, and insect-rich lawns and flowerbeds make excellent feeding grounds at dusk. Hedgehogs eat all kinds of invertebrates, as well as amphibians, birds eggs and anything else they can catch; they particularly like big, crunchy beetles, earthworms and slugs, making them a gardener's best friend.

 

The once common hedgehog is now under threat from development and habitat loss caused by the reduction of hedgerows and increase in intensification of our agricultural landscapes.

In just the last 10 years, hedgehog numbers have fallen by 30%, and there are now thought to be fewer than one million left in the UK. They are disappearing from our countryside as fast as tigers are worldwide.

Help hedgehogs with Wild About Gardens Week!

We're working with RHS and Hedgehog Street this October for Wild About Gardens Week. Join us and help save our prickly friends!

Create your very own 'hedgehog highway' in your fence or enter our hedgehog home building competition! Find free resources, information and advice on the Wild About Gardens Week website.

Ways that you can help the hog:

Make your Garden a Wildlife Haven

 Hedgehogs are found across the UK, absent only from some Scottish islands. Gardens, hedgerows, woodlands, grasslands, parkland and cemeteries are all important hedgehog habitats. Adult hedgehogs travel between 1-2km per night over home ranges between 10-20 hectares in size. In suburban areas, this means they range over entire housing estates and neighbourhoods.

Combined, our gardens provide a space for wildlife larger than all our National Nature Reserves, so by gardening in a wildlife-friendly way, we can help our spiny companions to find a home and move safely between habitats to find mates and food.

Create hedgehog highways

Hedgehogs need to be able to roam far and wide in search of food, mates and nesting sites. Get together with your neighbours to cut a 13cm2 (5in2) hole in your fence or dig a channel beneath garden boundaries to connect your gardens. You can download advice about how to do this and record your hedgehog hole at hedgehogstreet.org.

Keep an eye out for neighbours doing work on their gardens, or using fencing contractors - this is the perfect opportunity to get a hedgehog hole put in and influence connectivity.

Provide nesting sites

Log and leaf piles, wilderness areas and purpose-built hedgehog homes make great places for hedgehogs to nest and hibernate.

Fallen leaves also make the perfect nesting material, so make sure you don’t clear all of these away!

Try to pile these in quiet, undisturbed corners of your garden to allow hedgehogs a safe, secure area to breed and hibernate. 

Build a hedgehog home

Offer your local hedgehog a safe place in your garden by building them a home. They are simple and cheap to make! 

Say no to slug pellets

Hedgehogs hoover up over 100 invertebrates, such as snails, slugs and worms every night, so no need to use poisonous slug pellets!

Cover drains and gullies

Hedgehogs have poor eyesight but are quite curious, meaning they fall into holes and get stuck, so make sure you cover up any open drains and gullies. If you have a pond, make sure you provide an access point so that hedgehogs can climb back out - this can be achieved by using a ramp or placing some stones at one end. 

Think about hedgehogs around bonfire time

Every year numbers of hedgehogs die or suffer injuries due to bonfire piles not being not checked before being lit. To help prevent hedgehogs and other wildlife from suffering, it is avidsed by The British Hedgehog Preservation Society to avoid building your bonfire until the day it is going to be lit - this will reduce the chances of hedgehogs taking up residence in the bonfire pile for hiberation. Always make sure you build your bonfire on clearground (not on top of leaf litter) and don't forget to check your bonfire before lighting too!

What do I do if I find a sick or injured hedgehog?

If you’re concerned about underweight hedgehogs in autumn or hedgehogs active in mid-winter do contact the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust's Wildlife Enquiries service by ringing 01773 881188 (in office hours) or emailing enquiries@derbyshirewt.co.uk

Provision of tinned cat or dog meat and fresh water is well worth doing as a stop-gap measure but underweight hedgehogs found in late summer or autumn (and any hedgehog seen in mid winter) need to be taken into care and kept warm and fed by a carer until the following spring when they can be released. (Hedgehogs need to be 1.25 lbs. (600 grams) in weight in order to survive hibernation. If they are lighter they won’t have enough fat to survive until spring.)

You will find much useful information about hedgehogs on The British Hedgehog Preservation Society’s website here or you can email them on info@britishhedgehogs.org.uk

Photos, Tom Marshall, Richard Bowler, Amy Lewis

Download all our wonderful Wild About Gardens Week publications, hedgehog home instructions and your very own knitting pattern! 
 

Downloads

FilenameFile size
16597_wag_hedgehog_16pp_booklet16_7_pdf_45456.pdf4.82 MB
hedgehog_knitting_pattern_image_-_derbyshire.pdf601.6 KB
16598_wag_hedgehog_2pp_card_15_7_latest_version_18913.pdf649.37 KB
wt_deluxe_hedgehog_house_wag_jpg_20940.jpg4.48 MB
wt_simple_hedgehog_house_wag_jpg_13234.jpg3.68 MB