Why is it so important that we attract hedgehogs to our gardens?
“Hedgehogs aren’t just cute, they’re also valuable pest controllers with their diet of slugs and grubs,” said Sarah Squire, Chairman of Squire’s Garden Centres.
Known as the gardener’s friend, hedgehog numbers have declined dramatically in recent years.
Estimates put the hedgehog population in England, Wales and Scotland at about one million – compared with 30 million in the 1950s.
Research by the People’s Trust For Endangered Species (PTES) and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) suggests that their decline in numbers is partly due to the loss of hedgerows and field margins to intensive farming.
They can also be hit on roads, so to help the hedgehog population a new sign was introduced last year featuring a picture of a hedgehog to warn motorists to look out for them.
You can help hedgehogs by attracting them to your garden. Here are some top tips from Squire’s Garden Centres.
Top Tips To Attract Hedgehogs
1. Make sure they can get into your garden. Hedges allow easy access for our spiny friends. Good hedging plants include birch, beech, dogwood and hawthorn. If you have a fence, try to leave a 12cm opening to allow hedgehogs to pass through.
2. Provide shelter. Piles of logs, twigs, compost heaps and special hedgehog nesting houses all provide a good home.
3. Give them a drink. Don’t give them milk as it’s not good for them, but they’d love a bowl of water.
4. Attract them with their favourite food. Leave out food such as Hedgehog Bites (£7.99 at Squire’s) that are packed with vitamins and minerals.
You could also provide a bug hotel so that they can munch on their natural food of centipedes, woodlice and earwigs. Mulch your flowerbeds with compost, or leave a patch of grass to grow or pile up fallen leaves, which will attract earthworms, beetles and woodlice.
Did You Know?
- Newborn hoglets can weigh as little as 10g, which is less than a £2 coin!
- A hedgehog’s spines are made from keratin, the same protein that makes up our hair. An adult animal has up to 7,000 spines.
- Hedgehogs have poor eyesight, but excellent senses of smell and hearing.
- They can travel surprisingly far – males can cover more than 3km per night when looking for a female.
- On average hedgehogs live for 2-5 years in the wild, but some have lived up to 10 years!
Hedgehog Care Pack (£39.99 at Squire’s)
A must for anyone wanting to help the UK’s declining hedgehog population. This includes a hedgehog home, feeding tray, 100g Spikes Meaty Feast Food and hedgehog field guide.
Hedgehog Feeding Tray (£5.99 at Squire’s)
This raised feeding tray is a great addition to your garden. Just leave it in a sheltered place, along with some feed and just wait for your favourite garden wild animal to appear.
Hedgehog Bites (£7.99 at Squire’s)
A brilliant feed for hedgehogs, full of energy boosting ingredients it provides them with their recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals.