National Hedgehog Day!
These charming mammals were once a common sight, bumbling around gardens and snuffling out slugs, snails and other garden pests. They’re a vital part of the garden ecosystem, but have sadly experienced a drastic decline in the UK – so much so that they were added to the ICUN Red List in 2020.
As we head towards the spring and the warmer weather, these sweet, spiky friends will soon be waking from their winter snooze. Here are some little ways to give them a helping hand:
🦔 Create a dedicated compost heap or log pile to provide a safe, natural retreat. Not only does this provide the perfect material for a cosy nest, but also attracts earwigs, beetles, worms and other tasty snacks. You could even add our Biochar Compost Rejuvenator or Soil Improver to the compost heap to help naturally improve your home compost.
🦔 Leave out food and fresh water in a shallow dish. There are hedgehog specific diets available, but wet dog or cat food with a high meat content is a tasty alternative.
🦔 Take care with your garden maintenance. Be mindful when working on areas that might appeal to hedgehogs, and check bonfires thoroughly before lighting.
🦔If you have a pond or other standing water feature, add some small pebbles around the edge to create a ‘beach’. This enables thirsty hedgehogs to drink more easily, and provides an escape route should they fall in. For ponds with high sides, consider adding a ramp – hedgehogs are surprisingly good swimmers, but can easily drown if they can’t climb out.
🦔 Hedgehog Highways are a common addition to many gardens – a small doorway cut into the bottom of your fence can help them navigate between gardens at night, meaning they’re less likely to wander into the road.
Folklore says that seeing a hedgehog in early February means warmer weather is on the way. Although they do occasionally wake up to change nesting sites, we can hope to see hedgehogs waking from their hibernation proper from mid-March. Keep your eyes peeled!
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