Hedgehogs are insectivores and their preferred diet includes beetles, slugs, caterpillars and earthworms. Our Hedgehog Food is an excellent substitute should supplies of these insects be insufficient. They can also be tempted by Bowls of meat-based Food. We also have a range of Hedgehog Houses that will keep your garden guests safe and happy through the year. You can learn more About Hedgehogs here.
Hedgehogs in your Garden
It may still feel very much like winter to us, but nature is already showing signs that it is ready to awaken from its big sleep ahead of the arrival of spring. Snowdrops have bloomed in droves, crocuses are poking up through lawns and flower beds - and it won’t be long before the wonderful hedgehog starts to grace us with its presence again. Hedgehogs are one of Britain’s best-loved animals, but many people are unaware that their numbers are in rapid decline and many populations are really struggling due to habitat destruction, loss of food supplies and severe weather. As the tiny mammals prepare to emerge from hibernation, why not do your bit to ensure those visiting your garden prosper? Here are some top tips on how to go about this.
When will hedgehogs wake up?
Hedgehogs usually hibernate between November and mid-March, but their emergence can vary depending on weather conditions.
Helping them find food
When hedgehogs come out of hibernation, their fat reserves will be running low. The Hedgehog Preservation Society states they may have lost up to a third of their body weight, so eating as soon as possible is very important. Although people assume that bread and milk are best for these animals, they can actually cause diarrhoea, so canned dog food, minced meat or scrambled eggs are better if you want to put supplies out for them as soon as they emerge. Don’t forget a bowl of clean water, too. We’ve also got specially formulated Organic Pate for Hedgehogs and Hedgehog Food, which is an ideal substitute for the invertebrates they really like to eat.
Providing hedgehog habitats
It’s tempting once spring emerges to go outside and attack your scruffy flower beds and lawns with secateurs and mowers, but don’t get too harsh with all the foliage. Hedgehogs will thank you if you leave at least a small corner as it gives them places to hide and can also help them to move around to other habitats without being seen. You can even provide some safe shelter among the grass and leaves to provide a secure refuge for expectant mothers and, later in the year, as a hibernation site. We have special Hedgehog Houses and Hedgehog baskets that make ideal homes for them.
Take care with garden equipment
Be careful when you do get the lawnmower and strimmer out, as small hedgehogs can easily be missed among long grass and the results can be devastating. Go around with a broom or your feet first, checking for any of your spiky friends and herding them to other parts of the garden before you flick that power switch.
Also, use pesticides only where you feel you absolutely must as hedgehogs might eat things like slug pellets, or consume pests that have been poisoned by them. This can do them serious harm even at low doses so use as a last resort or, far better, concentrate on growing plants that are resistant to slugs and snails. If you can, try natural alternatives such as beer traps and copper tapes around your plant pots. If you grow some slug and snail-luring plants in your wild section of garden, this might also tempt them away from your prized blooms, as well as providing an in situ food source for the hedgehogs.
Do let us know when you spot the first hedgehogs in your garden this year!