Hedgehogs are brilliant organic pest control for the garden. They eat slugs, snails and insects which enjoy making a meal of your flowers and plants.
We all love seeing hedgehogs. Perhaps it’s as a result of reading “The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle” by Beatrix Potter as children. Hedgehogs are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, however, sadly their numbers are in decline in the UK. They are particularly vulnerable as we prepare to ‘Remember remember the fifth of November’ as they are looking for somewhere to hibernate and can fall victim to Bonfire Night celebrations.
Hedgehogs During Bonfires Night Festivities
Bonfires look like an attractive home to the average hedgehog. If you’re having a bonfire, build it as close to the day as possible to minimise the chance a hedgehog crawling inside. Check and restack the pile to ensure nothing is hiding underneath. Check when strimming, mowing and clearing leaves and vegetation too.
If possible, leave a gap at the bottom of boundary fences and keep a corner of your garden where things can hide. Creatures of all sorts love an unkempt area. Construct a leaf litter pile from four posts in the ground with chicken wire wrapped. Leave a good-sized gap at the bottom with wires safely bent round and tucked away. Alternatively, you can make a box for them to hibernate in, or buy one.
Hedgehogs are nocturnal and you are unlikely to see a healthy hedgehog about during the daytime. If you do come across an unhealthy Hedgehog during daylight, put it in a box and keep it in a warm place. Provide it with some paper or towels to snuggle into. Give it food and water before contacting a hedgehog rescue place.
It’s helpful to leave food and fresh water out in the autumn as hedgehogs need to gain weight before hibernation. Hedgehogs are lactose-intolerant so please do not be tempted by the old bread and milk routine. Meaty cat or dog food offers the best nutrition for them.
For further information and advice, visit www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk
For advice on how to look after your lawn at this time of year see our post Winter Lawn Care