What to do if a Hedgehog is in your garden?
October 4, 2021 12:00 pm Published by

Hedgehogs are found throughout Britain, they have a round body covered in short, dark, yellow-tipped spines, and a short tail. Their little faces and the undersides are covered in coarse hair.

In the summer they shelter in leaves, moss and grass and only come out at night to forage for food, you can hear them grunting while they do this, unless you see a female hog which sometimes can be seen foraging in the late afternoons.

In the winter they hibernate, which is usually in a sheltered spot under a hedgerow.

Their eyesight is poor, but they have good hearing and a very good sense of smell, they are good runners, can climb and even swim. If they feel threatened or attacked, they roll into a tight ball so only their spines are exposed.

Many hedgehogs are killed  by humans, unintentionally. On the roads, with our lawnmowers, strimmer’s, and garden chemicals, and even in bonfires.

Which brings me to the meaning of this blog. How can we help our little prickly friends?

What shall you do if you have a hedgehog camping out in your garden?

During the Summer Nights, between April and October time, if you see a hedgehog out, there isn’t much you need to do, especially if they look healthy but there are ways you can make them feel welcome.

Such as providing food and water, they spend most of their time foraging for food to put on weight. You can either choose a wet or dry dog or cat food, or if you wanted to go out and buy a hedgehog food, I am sure they would be very grateful.

You can leave the food and water out for them in the early evening in shallow bowls or set up a hedgehog feeding station, which you can make yourself or can buy readymade hedgehog houses.

Never feed hedgehogs milk or bread. They can’t digest them – it upsets their stomachs.

A hedgehog house will give your hogs a safe, dry place to nest at night or hibernate over the winter.

So, if you see a hedgehog wandering around in your garden during the daytime, chances are it’s in trouble, so call your local rescue centre and get some advice. If they suggest taking it in, make sure you have thick gardening gloves, a cardboard box, towels, and a hot water bottle. Scoop the hedgehog from underneath with two hands and place it gently into the box onto some towels. Offer it some food and water, and if it is cold outside, wrap a hot water bottle around a towel and place it next to the hedgehog.

Late Autumn or Early Winter

If there is a hedgehog wandering around in your garden at this time of year, have a look to see what condition it is in. It should really be in hibernation in between October and November, they will need to have plenty of fat on them to survive through the winter. So, if it is skinny, wobbling around, limping, or looks weak and unsteady on its feet? you should contact a local rescue centre.

To be sure of surviving hibernation, a hedgehog needs to weigh over 600 grams.

Making your garden hedgehog safe

We have already suggested making or buying a hedgehog house to give your hogs a safe, dry place to nest at night or hibernate over the winter, or to raise babies.

Your garden alone will not be big enough for them. Hedgehogs are small but they can travel over half a mile every night looking for food, so it may be a good idea to make small changes to your garden to help them out.

A suggestion would be to cut a small hole in your fence 5 inches square in the bottom, making sure that its your fence and your neighbour knows why you have done it. You could also create a little corner for them with leaves and a log pile. Making sure they have lots of thick dense undergrowth and a variety of lengths of grass to hide and nest in is always good. You can also make your garden a hot spot for the slugs, snails, and bugs that hedgehogs like to munch on

When you are in your garden make sure you check in, overgrown areas, log piles or even long grass before you use any machinery.

Don’t use any chemicals or pesticides.

Hedgehog’s love looking in things and often get tangled up in nets that cover your vegetables and flowers, so be careful not to leave them laying around and check your nets often.

Bonfires! Please check them before you light them. They may be hiding out in them.

If you have dogs. Make sure they won’t go chasing after the hedgehog or attack them, neither will come off a winner.

As I said before, hedgehogs can swim but if you have a pond with steep sides and they go in for a drink, they may have trouble getting out. Make sure you provide a platforms and sloped routes out of the water.

If you accidently disturb an active hedgehog nest, carefully replace the material. The hedgehog will soon move the nest elsewhere. If there are young still in the nest, avoid touching them.

If you come across a hibernating adult, try not to wake it. If you do, leave some food and water nearby until it hibernates again.

You can make such a huge difference to the hedgehog species by making your garden Hedgie friendly!