- Hedgehogs are the gardener's friend, munching their way through those pesky slugs and snails. Sadly, it's estimated that a quarter of the hedgehog population has been lost in the last ten years.
The best-selling Hogitat provides a sturdy, lightweight, waterproof shelter for hedgehogs and allows them to dig deeper into the soil if they wish.
It's designed to blend into the garden. Position somewhere quiet, out of the prevailing wind and cover with leaves and brushwood to create a cosy den.
- Position the Hogitat hedgehog shelter somewhere quiet, out of the prevailing wind. Under shrubs is an ideal place as it will help to ensure the hedgehogs are undisturbed. Cover the shelter with leaves and brushwood to camouflage it and create a cosy den.
Hedgehog houses may be used for winter hibernation, throughout the summer as a safe shelter, or, if you're very lucky, by a female making a nest to have her young.
Hedgehogs need to be able to get from garden to garden to look for food. Solid fencing all-round will prevent them being able to travel between gardens. Consider making your garden more wildlife friendly.
You can encourage hedgehogs by providing them with suitable habitats. They like thick dense undergrowth and a variety of lengths of grass.
You may also be able to provide hedgehogs with supplementary food. This is particularly useful during periods of drought when natural insect foods may be harder to come by. Their varied diet allows them to eat many kinds of foods
we have around the home.
With the exception of milk and bread, which should be avoided, you can put out almost anything. A particular favourite is dog or cat food, but you can also try small amounts of cake, biscuits and pastry as well as fresh and dried fruits and cooked vegetables.
Protecting hedgehogs Avoid using chemicals. Slug pellets can be particularly detrimental. When putting preservative on garden sheds, fences and other wood furniture around the garden use non-toxic brands. Hedgehogs often lick new smells and surfaces.
Hedghogs habitually hide themselves in piles of leaves, grass cuttings, pampas grass, compost heaps and bags of rubbish. Always check these before burning, cutting, strimming, mowing, putting a fork into or disposing of them.
Many plastic items can trap, ensnare or cut a hedgehog. These include netting, plastic can holders, large necked bottles, plastic pots and barbed wire.
Hedgehogs can also easily fall down holes, into water troughs, ponds, swimming pools and other types of water vessel. If you cannot prevent them from falling in, then make sure there is always a way for them to get out.
Dogs can injure hedgehogs, so make sure you know what your dog is doing when in the garden late at night.
If you accidentally disturb an active hedgehog nest, carefully replace the material. The hedgehog will soon repair or move the nest elsewhere. If there are young in the nest, avoid touching them. Similarly, if it is a hibernating adult, avoid waking it. Should it wake, you may want to leave it some food nearby until it hibernates again.