Avoid harming hedgehogs

Most of the dangers faced by hedgehogs are the result of human action, much of which you may not even realise impacts on hedgehogs.

There are many small things you can do to help save hedgehogs from going extinct, which will happen in the next 20 years unless humans take action.

1) Avoid the use of slug pellets and other poisons in your garden

Hedgehogs and many species of garden birds eat a range of garden insects and molluscs, their diet includes slugs, worms and beetles. Poisons such as slug pellets and insecticides are taken in by the hedgehogs and birds in this way, through their food.

2) Take care when using a strimmer

We often see hedgehogs who have been injured by strimmer blades. To avoid harming a hedgehog in this way, check overgrown clumps of grass or undergrowth before you strim into it.

3) Always check bonfires

All too often, hedgehogs and other small mammals are killed in bonfires. As gardens are often kept very tidy, hedgehogs looking for piles of sticks and leaves in which to hibernate are drawn to bonfires. To avoid the risk of hedgehogs being killed, please fully dismantle your bonfire before you light it, then build it back up once you are sure there are no hedgehogs sheltering inside.

4) Remove netting

Whilst hedgehogs prickles provide excellent defence against their predators, they sadly make hedgehogs vulnerable to getting caught in man-made netting and other garden equipment. Polystyrene cups, plastic, and elastic bands can all harm hedgehogs. Also garden netting – if possible, replace this with a rigid structure or use thick cord, kept tight so it won’t wrap around the hedgehog. We also find hedgehogs caught in sports nets like football goal nets. To protect hedgehogs from this danger, sports netting can be tied up or stored inside.

5) Log effect edging can trap hedgehog legs

Low log-effect border edging will often develop small gaps between the logs as it ages. Sadly, hedgehogs are prone to getting their legs trapped in these gaps, and may end up losing the leg as a result. Avoiding the use of edging that is low enough for hedgehogs to climb over avoids this.

6) Drains

Make sure holes are covered with a grid, to prevent hedgehogs falling into the drain.

7) Ponds

Ponds are an excellent way to attract wildlife to your garden. Make sure your pond includes a sloping ‘ramp’ of wood up to the edge, or a piece of mesh that hedgehogs can climb up to get out the pond. Whilst hedgehogs are good swimmers, pond sides are often too steep for them to climb and they tire and drown in the pond.

If you are building a pond, include a sloping side for hedgehogs to use.

8) Hedgehog corridors

Adding holes in your garden fencing will allow hedgehogs to pass between gardens. Hedgehogs cover over a mile each night, looking for food – the more gardens they can access, the better!

More on adding ‘hedgehog corridor’ to your garden

Making your garden a hedgehog sanctuary

If you want to go one step further and actively encourage hedgehogs into your garden there are many ways to make your garden hedgehog friendly.

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