Thursday, 1 August 2019

Hedgehogs in August • Kay Bullen, Trustee of the BHPS

Nest box tucked away in a quiet corner
There will be many newly independent youngsters around at this time and if there is a spell of dry weather, they may have problems finding sufficient food, this can apply to the adults as well, especially if females are still looking after their hoglets.

Providing extra food in dry weather can therefore be a life saver and a dish of water would also be invaluable.  Good quality hedgehog food, meaty cat or dog food or cat biscuits are suitable things to offer.  If you offer dry food, then the extra water is even more important.

If you want to encourage hedgehogs into your garden this is probably the best time of year to do it. There will be lots of youngsters dispersing from their birthplaces all looking for a new home patch, where they can build up weight ready for their first hibernation.  If you can provide a nest box for them, or even just a safe place for them to build a nest that may increase your chances of a long-term visitor. 

Should you have an unused or new nest box you could put a few dry cat biscuits in the entrance to encourage them to explore inside the box, once one starts using it, feed away from the box, as there may be conflicts between any new arrivals attracted to the box by the food and the new resident.

Hedgehogs having access to your garden by several “hedgehog holes” will also mean they can come into your garden more easily, some might pass through on their travels whilst others may be encouraged to stay, either in your garden or locally.  If neighbours are encouraged to do the same this will mean hedgehogs can move around your neighbourhood more easily.  However, do make sure gardens are hedgehog friendly before you encourage them to stay.

If you need advice about any hedgehogs contact the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, they can give general advice and perhaps details of a local hedgehog rehabilitator that you can contact.  Their website also includes ideas for feeding stations and nest boxes plus how to make your garden hedgehog friendly (see “Gardening with Hedgehogs” leaflet).  Contact them on 01584 890801 or for general advice and for leaflets visit their website. 

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