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How to create a hedgehog friendly garden

Follow our simple tips to make your garden a safe home for hedgehogs. 

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Hedgehogs are one of the UK’s best loved native animals, but sadly their numbers are in decline. We’re supporting the Hedgehog Street campaign to protect hedgehogs for the future and encourage them to thrive in our communities. 

Install a hedgehog highway

Hedgehogs can roam between 1-2km each night looking for food, shelter and mates but they can’t get through walls or fences. The easiest way you can help is to install a ‘hedgehog highway’, a small opening in your garden fence about 13cm wide and 13cm high (about the size of a CD case). Try to create as much access as possible, connecting gardens on all sides, and thinking about front and back gardens where possible.

Many of our developments now have hedgehog highways ready installed, so all you’ll need to do is keep them clear.

Photo credit: Brian Austin

Hedgehog coming out of wooden hole

Make your garden a safe haven

Litter and netting can be dangerous to all kinds of wildlife, and hedgehogs are particularly prone to getting tangled and stuck. Keep your garden clear of litter, and ensure any netting is securely fastened or stored away when not in use.

Ponds are great places for hedgehogs to get a drink but they can fall in and drown if there’s no easy way to get out. To make your pond safe, make sure there’s a sloping side or add a simple ramp using stones or wood to help them climb out.

Don’t use chemicals. Insecticides, lawn treatments and slug pellets can be toxic to hedgehogs and reduce the number of bugs in your garden for them to feed on.

Hedgehog on a road

Provide food and water

Putting out a little food and water can be a great way to help look after our hedgehogs, and ensure they’re getting everything they need to stay healthy.

You can buy specialist meaty hedgehog food from pet stores but meaty cat or dog food, or even cat biscuits, also provides a good meal. Putting a shallow saucer of clean water out is a safe way to make sure they have enough to drink. 

Photo credit: Hedgehog Street

 

Hedgehog drinking from dish

Create a wild corner

Letting a corner of your garden grow wild is one of the best ways to help hedgehogs and all sorts of other wildlife too. Plant a selection of wildlife friendly plants and flowers, and don’t cut them back in the winter. It’s the perfect habitat for insects and other small creatures, and will provide both food and shelter for hedgehogs too. 
Mother and daughter working in garden

Build a hedgehog home

Give hedgehogs a safe space to call home within your garden and help keep them safe from predators. An undisturbed log pile can be an ideal nest, and is quick and simple to make. You could even build your own custom hedgehog house and make it a feature of your garden. Hedgehog Street has plenty of tips and advice on how to make a hedgehog home. 

Photo credit: Chris Groves

Hedgehog family

Check for hedgehogs

Always check for hedgehogs before strimming or mowing your lawn. They may be hiding in longer grasses, and they won’t know to run away from the sound, which could prove fatal.

If you find a single hedgehog before strimming or mowing, you can carefully move it to a safer spot using gloves. Hedgehog families should be left where they are and not be disturbed. For further advice or if you find a sick or orphaned hedgehog, call the The British Hedgehog Preservation Society.

Garden bonfires are also an irresistible nesting spot for hedgehogs and many other creatures. Always build or move them on the day of burning, and check them before lighting to ensure there are no animals hiding inside. Lighting bonfires on one side, gives any animals you might have missed a chance to escape. 

Photo credit: British Hedgehog Preservation Society

Hedgehog in garden