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10 Steps to a Hedgehog Friendly Garden

Hedgehog Awareness Week runs from the 1st to the 7th of May. As we move into Spring, and hedgehogs begin to emerge from hibernation, now is a great time to start thinking about small ways we can make their lives easier. The British Hedgehog Preservation Society, among other experts, believe that hedgehog numbers may be declining due to human activity. As well as being a staple of the British countryside, the humble hedgehog plays an indispensable role in the ecosystem – their absence would be a real loss.

By understanding the secret lives of these nocturnal creatures, you can learn to anticipate their needs, and how your own garden can be adapted to meet them.


Starting with the most obvious, but it's true: the first step to creating a hedgehog friendly space may simply be to invest some more time in gardening, and get things growing.

A possible reason for declining hedgehog populations is that British gardens are generally becoming poorer homes for wildlife, perhaps as many people would say that they do not have the time for a high-maintenance garden. With increased paving, decking, and artificial lawns, experts worry that hedgehogs are becoming isolated, as green spaces become fewer and further between.

Greenery is important hedgehogs need shelter and security, as well as opportunities to forage for food. In particular they prefer dense, low growing vegetation and shrubbery. Creating a garden border is a great place to start, as this can be done with relatively low maintenance shrubs and wild flowers.


While they may not be thought of as particularly active creatures, hedgehogs actually travel vast distances overnight. In a single night they can cover over 2 kilometres, and across a typical summer they roam areas up to 50ha, foraging and finding mates.

These nightly journeys are being inhibited by a loss of connectivity between green spaces in Britain: as our fences and walls become more secure, it becomes harder for hedgehogs to move from one garden to the next. With more and more roads and housing developments reducing the amount of wilderness available, this network of gardens is imperative to the hedgehogs’ survival.

We can help make their lives easier by making sure that our gardens are not entirely enclosed. Building what UK-based conservation initiative Hedgehog Street dubs ‘hedgehog highways’ allows our nocturnal friends access points to cover a greater area of land. This can be as simple as making holes in or under garden fences – 13x 13cm gaps are recommended, as this size will allow hedgehogs to pass while being too small for most pets.


Wildlife ponds are excellent and underrated resources. They boost local ecology, provide a reliable water source, and can encourage a variety of species of prey.

While hedgehogs are surprisingly adept swimmers, they can still drown in steep-sided pools, so be sure to provide an escape route! If your pond does not have sloping sides already, then creating a simple ramp – for example with stones, wood, or chicken wire – will ensure that the hedgehogs can safely climb out after swimming.


While most gardeners have a big tidy once or twice a year, experts recommend leaving a section of your garden undisturbed, forming a ‘wild corner’. Untrimmed wild areas, log piles, and standing vegetation can all be extremely useful to hedgehog populations. Not only can they provide sheltered nesting sites, but they also encourage an abundance of insects to prey on. This is important because insect larvae and soil invertebrates, which should make up a large portion of hedgehogs’ diets, are becoming scarcer in agricultural soils.

Leaving an area of your garden untouched is an easy way to make your garden a safe harbour for hedgehogs.


Although hedgehogs should be getting the majority of their food intake from insects and worms in the wild, putting out supplementary food and water can be helpful – especially during winter months.

Despite what you may have learned as a child, milk and water can in fact be harmful, as hedgehogs are lactose intolerant and bread is of little nutritional value to them. Instead, opt for meat-based cat or dog food to provide the protein they need. A shallow dish of water is also recommended.

Keep in mind that hedgehogs are solitary creatures and do not generally like to share food. Splitting the food on offer over several sites may reduce competition and aggression at the food bowls.


To make your garden friendly to hedgehogs, stop using chemicals. Hedgehogs’ natural diets are reliant on insect larvae and soil invertebrates (think caterpillars, earthworms, slugs and beetle grubs). Killing these garden ‘pests’ with toxic lawn treatments, pesticides, insecticides or slug pellets is unnecessary, and makes it harder for hedgehogs to find prey.

In a healthy, well-managed garden, chemical treatments are unneeded. Hedgehogs, after all, are known as “the gardener’s best friend” for their natural pest-control abilities.


Strimmers pose a danger to hedgehogs. When threatened, a hedgehog will tend to curl into a characteristic spikey ball rather than running away. This can make them difficult to see, so if you do need to use a strimmer or lawn mower, make sure to check your garden thoroughly beforehand. Be especially careful around bushes, hedges or areas of dense vegetation, where they’re most likely to be resting.


Bonfires are another potential hazard. For a hedgehog looking for a place to hibernate or nest, a large pile of debris may seem ideal. To avoid disaster, build the bonfire on the same day you plan on using it, and check for sleeping animals before starting the fire.


Try to provide safe nesting options to make your garden a hedgehog haven. Natural features, such as a compost heap or log pile, have the added benefit of encouraging more creepy-crawlies for hedgehogs to snack on. Alternatively, you can build an artificial hedgehog house (called a hibernacula) out of materials like wood, cardboard boxes, straw or polythene sheeting.

There is no shortage of online guides with instructions and advice for making the best hibernacula. This can be a great summertime activity to get the kids involved with.


It’s best to think of your garden as part of a larger network. Realistically, no singular garden can meet a hedgehog’s every need. The space needed to accommodate a hedgehog population is much bigger than any individual plot of land. Try talking to your neighbours about ways you can work to make your area more hedgehog friendly – linking your gardens to create a more welcoming web of green spaces.

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Jun 18

The article "10 Ways to Make Your Garden More Friendly to cox cable and internet bundles Hedgehogs" offers practical and insightful tips for creating a welcoming environment for these charming creatures. From providing hedgehog houses to leaving out water and food, each suggestion is both achievable and impactful. It's a wonderful resource for anyone looking to support local wildlife and enhance biodiversity in their own backyard. I particularly appreciate how it encourages small, thoughtful actions that collectively make a big difference.


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