Protect Hedgehogs in Your Garden this Autumn
The news has been awash with UK Environment secretary Owen Paterson’s issues in relation to the badger cull. There has been fierce opposition to this issue. No-one seems certain whether this strategy will help, in terms of actually making a positive impact on the reduction of bovine tuberculosis in cattle. With fierce protests and ongoing issues yet to be resolved, it seems this is far from over.
It’s not only badgers that are under threat; hedgehogs are in decline also, but for different reasons. A recent report indicated that there has been a decline of hedgehogs by 25% in the last 10 years. The reasons for their demise range from poisoning from insecticides, being burnt in bonfires (where they like to make a home) and the shrinking countryside – leaving them homeless.
Consider how you can take care of the hedgehogs in your garden over the challenging winter months.
We can actually turn our gardens into safe places for hedgehogs, inviting them in by making only a few small changes, and giving these spiky creatures a home.
Hedgehogs are attracted to log piles, compost heaps and you can even build a little hedgehog box for them as a home. Hedgehog homes can be modeled on regular bird houses, but are placed on the floor, with a hole at the front and a little ramp for the hedgehog to shuffle down. This would be a great education project to carry out with your kids.
A report by the Guardian suggested that leaving water and food out for hedgehogs will give them a helping hand. Apparently, they like meaty chicken or turkey dog food. And, contrary to popular belief, milk and bread are not suitable, as this makes them ill.
If you are preparing your garden for the upcoming winter months, maybe you have decided to buy a new fence or get your hedge in order. Buy Fencing Direct has a range of fences that will provide shelter for wildlife. Take note: fences can also be obstructive, preventing your fuzzy friends from roaming from one garden to the next. In this case, remember to leave a small opening, perhaps at the bottom of the gate, so that the hedgehogs can come in and out and forage for food and take shelter.
Hedges, on the other hand, should be checked before you use strimmers, as these can prove fatal for hedgehogs. Don’t make your garden too pristine, as leaves and naturally fallen foliage will actually encourage hedgehogs to thrive in the area.
So, implement these changes in your garden and be enchanted by the hedgehogs that begin to find as much solace in your garden as you do.