How to help hedgehogs in your garden
'I have a hedgehog in my garden, what do I do?' - The British Hedgehog Preservation Society answer this question and share their top tips for helping hedgehogs in your garden for Hedgehog Awareness Week 2022. Photograph British Hedgehog Preservation Society
The British Hedgehog Preservation Society is celebrating its 40th birthday this year. The charity organises an annual Hedgehog Awareness Week, which this year runs from 1st to 7th May. It’s a perfect time to get involved and find out how you can do your bit to help this struggling iconic species. Here you'll find the charity's top tips for helping hedgehogs in your garden. Don't miss our piece on how to build a hedgehog house.
How to help a hedgehog in your garden
What to feed a hedgehog in the garden
Put out meaty cat or dog food or cat biscuits for hedgehogs and remember to always keep a supply of fresh water in shallow bowls in the garden for them.
Make sure that there is access through fences and walls for hedgehogs. Create a 5” (13cm) square hedgehog highway in your street by asking neighbours to do the same! Gaps in boundaries could make a huge difference to hedgehogs, who travel around a mile each night. Find leaflets and posters to download and share with neighbours at the charity website.
Make a hedgehog home
Offering a log pile or wild area in your garden will provide natural food and shelter for hedgehogs, or you could create a purpose-built hedgehog home.
Spread the word
The award-winning short film ‘Hedgehog Close’ gives lots of advice and tips on how to help hedgehogs. Once you’ve enjoyed it, why not share it too, help spread the word.
Check your garden is safe for hedgehogs
If there is trouble to be found, a hedgehog will find it! Watch out for netting in which they can become entangled, keep it at least 30cm (1 foot) off the ground and tidy away when not being used. Go organic - cut out pesticides and poisons. Check bonfires before they are lit and compost heaps before digging the fork in. Strimmers and mowers can kill or cause terrible injuries to hedgehogs, check areas carefully before hitting the power button.
Give hedgehogs access from water
Hedgehogs are good swimmers but struggle to get out of steep slippery edged ponds and pools. This is when they become exhausted and can drown. Half submerged rocks or a wooden plank with grips to act as a ladder from the water will help them to safety.
Become a Hedgehog Champion
British Hedgehog Preservation Society run a project called Hedgehog Street with People’s Trust for Endangered Species and so far over 100,000 people have signed up to be a Hedgehog Champion with the project – find out how you can join them at www.hedgehogstreet.org
Log a ‘hog
As part of the Hedgehog Street project you can log sightings on the BIG Hedgehog Map! The map accepts sightings of live hedgehogs and road casualties as well as being able to register those hedgehog highways you’ve created.
Molly is the Gardens Illustrated's editorial and digital assistant. She has a roof garden and has her RHS level 2.