Gardening: David Domoney shares tips for attracting hedgehogs to the garden
Unfortunately, the hedgehog population in the UK is declining at a worrying rate. Wildlife charities People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and The British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) recently published a report which found that hedgehog populations have fallen by 30-75% in rural areas since 2000, with the biggest falls in the east of England. . What can gardeners in the UK do to make their gardens better habitats for hedgehogs, hoping their populations don’t decline further?
According to David Domoney, “hedgehogs are a gardener’s best friend”.
He said: “In fact, I consider them one of the best garden bouncers, keeping out unwanted garden visitors like slugs and snails.”
David often shares his best gardening tips and tricks on his website, and he recently wrote about what gardeners can do to create better habitats for hedgehogs.
Not surprisingly, a pile of logs is the perfect place for hedgehogs to hibernate, keeping them warm and safe from predators.
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David advised: “Start by collecting some wood and choose a quiet, undisturbed section of your garden to set it up.
“Piles of logs or piles of dead leaves are great for shelter, but they’re also an excellent food source, as many insects will also find attractive places to hide.”
It is worth leaving part of the garden wild and untamed to attract not only hedgehogs, but also other wild animals.
Creating a “hedgehog highway” is another way to invite spiky creatures into the garden.
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To do this, David recommended “cutting a 13 x 13 cm (5.1 x 5.1 inch) hole in the bottom of your fence and encouraging your neighbors to do the same will allow the hedgehogs to roam freely. between the gardens as a larger network”.
This saves hedgehogs from having to travel on roads, which have repeatedly proven perilous for mammals.
Grace Johnson, Hedgehog Officer for the Hedgehog Street campaign, agreed hedgehog highways were a good idea.
She said: “Habitat fragmentation and a lack of suitable habitat are two issues facing British hedgehogs.
“Creating a small 13cm x 13cm square hedgehog hole – or hedgehog highway – in a garden fence is a great way to help, as it will allow hedgehogs to move between neighboring gardens in search of food, shelter and companions.
“Gardens can be a refuge for hedgehogs, but only if they are accessible.”
Hedgehog Street activists have also shared that leaving piles of logs in the garden is a good way to attract hedgehogs.
Compost piles can also make an attractive nesting site for critters, the campaign’s website says.
Outdoor composting is great for attracting insects, which in turn will attract hedgehogs as they prey on the scary critters.
Additionally, leaf piles, similar to log piles, can be used as a potential nesting site for hedgehogs, as well as bedding material for any other nesting sites or hedgehog boxes in the vicinity.
Ponds are “underrated as a hedgehog-friendly feature,” according to Hedgehog Street.
Campaigners said: “Hedgehogs will benefit from a year-round water supply, and they will thrive on the extra insects it attracts.
“Hedgehogs are great swimmers, just make sure there’s a gently sloping edge for them to escape – you can use rocks or wire mesh – to make sure they don’t drown not.”