#wordlesswednesday: Update on hedgehogs in the garden…..

Just a quick update on my baby hedgehogs. I wrote about them last week Here. I can report back that the Hogilo hedgehog house is a huge success. Three of the babies are in there this evening, and the roof is keeping them nice and dry.

I got in touch with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society to find out more about them. My babies need to weigh 600 grams before they can successfully hibernate. I will be weighing them tomorrow. Meanwhile I am feeding them up. Here’s a list of what we can give them.

Meat-based dog or cat food

Dried mealworms- not too many

Unsalted chopped or crushed peanuts

Sunflower hearts

Specially made hedgehog dried food- bought from pet shops and supermarkets.

Most importantly- they need a dish of fresh water. Not milk, which gives them stomach problems.

In the wild, my hedgehogs are eating the following:

Worms, beetles, earwigs, caterpillars, leatherjackets, millipedes, frogs, slugs, and fallen fruit. I know for a fact, they absolutely love windfall apples and plums.

Here are two of them with their dinner. They soon tucked in when I retreated to the house.

I was shocked to learn we have lost one third of our hedgehog population since the Millennium. The severe decline has been caused by the following:

Use of pesticides, reducing the number of invertebrates that make up the hedgehogs’ diet

Larger field sizes, making it difficult for them to move about

Mechanical hedge trimming which leaves gappy hedge bottoms and leads to poor nesting opportunities

Permanent pasture being lost to crops

Impenetrable fencing, limiting the area of connected land available for foraging

Gardens being lost to car parking, decking, etc, reducing the land available for foraging

Busy roads

Increased development

Over managed / tidied gardens reducing hibernation opportunities

Pesticide and slug pellet use, poisons invertebrates

Ponds. Hedgehogs are excellent swimmers, but they can’t get out of straight-sided ponds.

What we can do to help:

Leave untidy corners in our gardens with piles of logs and twigs.

Leave some fallen leaves, dry fern foliage, straw which can be used as nesting material.

Make or buy hedgehog shelters. Old wine crates can be converted, with the addition of a 30cm long tunnel entrance, to keep out predators, and a waterproof roof. Put the nesting material alongside as hedgehogs will carry it in themselves.

Create a safe, dry feeding area out of a clear plastic storage box with 13cm entrance hole.

Cut holes in fences so that hedgehogs can forage over a large area. The hole needs to be 13cm wide and 13cm high.

Use organic methods to protect plants. The Slug Gone wool pellets are really effective deterrents.

Make sure all ponds have a shallow beach made of stones at one end, or a plank wrapped in chicken wire, so that hedgehogs can escape.

I hope you’ve found this quick mini-guide useful. Certainly our hedgehogs need all the help they can get. It’s a sad fact that some children have never even seen a hedgehog- they were a very common sight when we were growing up.

I love this photo of a ceramic hedgehog 3,800 years old, found in an Egyptian tomb. It would be sad if they became extinct on our watch.

Photo credit : Brooklyn Museum and Big Hedgehog Map project where you can log sightings of hedgehogs in your area and find out more about them.

26 thoughts on “#wordlesswednesday: Update on hedgehogs in the garden…..

    • Thank you Courtney. I’m enjoying the challenge of creating a perfect home for them. They are such fascinating creatures. Thanks for getting in touch and for reading my blog. All the best. Karen

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    • Thank you Gill. I wrote it in a tearing hurry. Life seems to have suddenly become so busy! But I was desperate to share the information I had gleaned, in case it was useful to anyone else out there. And also, I genuinely didn’t know the answers to some of my questions. Such as what best to feed them on, and what weight they need to be. Thanks for reading. Love karen x

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    • Ah, thank you Anne. I did wonder if you had them in your garden. Glad you saw them in England. I’m meeting people all the time now who have never ever seen a hedgehog. So sad for children. They were so numerous when I was growing up. Thank you for reading.

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    • Thank you Mike. I am literally over the moon about the baby hedgehogs. Such a precious gift for the parents to leave in my garden. I’m determined they will find everything they need right here on my plot. Hopefully they will stay in the vicinity and breed here next year. If I’m lucky. Thanks for reading. Love karen x

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    • Thank you Cathy. I’ve found the hedgehog house to be really well designed. The roof swings sideways so you can clear it out – or check on the occupants. At the moment I’m putting the food in there as well, as it’s a nice dry feeding station and keeps the cats / foxes from eating the food. All the best with your hedgehogs. Please let me know how you get on. Love karen x

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  1. I hadn’t see your other post! Wow…we have 2 baby hedgehogs too so I am trying to leave them food. I love that they have come to the old house garden!
    It’s so sad about the plight of these lovely creatures. I have persuaded the neighbours here to keep the gap between our gardens so we have an area about 5 miles between all of the houses and I think we have quite a population now!
    This is such a lovely post. Xxxx

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    • How wonderful! That is such great news. Good for you persuading the neighbours to join in. I am so pleased to hear about your group of hedgehogs. I feel so sad that they are struggling to survive. I’m doing all I can here to create a habitat suitable for them, and would love to hear more about your garden too. Thanks for reading and for getting in touch. All the best. Karen

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  2. Karen thank you very much for the complete information you have given us about hedgehogs. I do not have any in the garden and it’s ecological, no pesticides or chemicals; abundant corners to live. I’m very happy that three of the baby hedgehogs sleep in their house and eat the food they provide. The photos are beautiful and reflect very well what they tell us. They are adorable, precious. Please Karen keep telling us how the hedgehogs are going. Thank you very much. Greetings from Margarita.

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    • Thank you Margarita for your lovely kind words. They are very precious to me. I’m rather obsessed with them at the moment, and run out in the morning to check the drive before anyone is allowed to go to work! Thank you for reading. Greetings from Karen xx

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  3. These are half price in our local garden centre just now so perhaps I will encourage them further in our garden by buying one…must be exciting to see families of hedgehogs. Do you see a parent with them at all?

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    • Hi Cathy. It’s really exciting. I’ve become a bit obsessed and every time my other half cuts the grass, I run out and brush the lawn edges with a large broom in case one of the babies is hiding in the geraniums overhanging the lawn. I got my Hogilo Half price from Wyvale. I like the waterproof lid which swings sideways so you can put food in there to keep it dry, and for cleaning out next year. I’m going to have a go at making one from a wooden crate though and I’m also making a pile of logs in an open garden arbour ( a bit like yours ). We saw the parents in the summer. The male was enormous, but we only saw him for a week. The mother stayed for a while, then wondered off. But we saw her again last night around our pond area. The babies have moved down the garden nearer the house and are living under a rose pergola. They were born under an old chicken house that’s raised off the ground by about 15cm. Last year’s babies were born under a pallet where I was just starting to pile logs and garden twigs and trimmings. I hadn’t actually finished work on the habitat before they just emerged from underneath. Good luck with your hedgehogs. Love karen x

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      • That’s really interesting to read, Karen. Does this suggest that the mother does not spend much time rearing the babies after birth? There are plenty of places where they could nest in our garden, particularly the woodland

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      • I think your garden will provide a perfect habitat for hedgehogs. There are
        plenty of woodland-type spaces in there. Apparently they stay with their mother for only 4 to 6 weeks. It takes 3 weeks for the baby hedgehog’s spines to harden. Thanks again for reading the blog. Karen

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  4. I have the problem, should I encourage the hedgehog when we have badgers, I have already found one hedgehog skin in the garden, I am not sure a HH house would provide enough protection. Road deaths and loss of habitat due to development must be the main cause of reduced population.

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    • That is a dilemma. Well, we have badgers a few miles away. I’m hoping they won’t come into the garden because of the number of people here all the time. My children still live at home and are coming and going at all hours of the day and night. I think I would make a really strong hedgehog shelter with a pallet base, and load lots of logs and stones on top as badgers are so strong. Hopefully, with somewhere to retreat to it gives the hedgehogs a chance at least. Much better than leaving them to fend for themselves, I believe. All the best, Brian. Thanks again for reading my blog.

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