The Hog Blog: an important read ahead of Bonfire Night
27th Oct 2017
Hedgehogs are brilliant organic pest control for the garden. They eat slugs, snails and insects which enjoy making a meal of your flowers and plants.
Everyone loves to see a hedgehog, but sadly their numbers are in decline in the UK despite them being protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. They are particularly vulnerable as we prepare to ‘Remember remember the fifth of November’ as they are looking for somewhere to hibernate and can fall victim to Bonfire Night celebrations.
Caring for hedgehogs in the garden
If you’re having a bonfire, build it as close to lighting it as possible to minimise the possibility of a hedgehog crawling inside. Check and restack the pile to ensure nothing is hiding underneath. Check when strimming, mowing and clearing leaves and vegetation too.
If possible, leave a gap at the bottom of boundary fences and keep a corner of your garden where things can hide. An unkempt area will be loved by creatures of all sorts. A leaf litter pile can be constructed from four posts in the ground with chicken wire wrapped round. Leave a good-sized gap at the bottom with wires safely bent round and tucked away. Alternatively, you can make a box for them to hibernate in, or buy one.
If you see a hedgehog out in the daytime it’s likely to be unwell. Put it in a box and keep it in a warm place with some paper or towels to snuggle into, and provide food and water before contacting a hedgehog rescue place.
It’s helpful to leave food and fresh water out in the autumn as hedgehogs need to gain weight prior to hibernation, but NOT bread and milk as they are lactose-intolerant. Meaty cat or dog food offers the best nutrition for them.
For further information and advice, visit www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk
With grateful thanks to the British Hedgehog Preservation Society for their help with this blog and for the use of their images.