Blog, Garden Design

How Hedgehog ‘Proof’ is your Garden?

December 5, 2013 2:14 pm Leave your thoughts

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the decline of the once common garden visitor, the Hedgehog.  There are plenty of suggestions available for how to make them at home in your garden.

If you don’t give them a place of their own they’ll find one anyway, which may not always be convenient for you.  They find the oddest places to hibernate as Kate Long discovered when she went to feed the birds.  I guess he had a good feed before he went to sleep.

“Oh, for goodness’ sake. In the gloom of the shed, I pushed my hand into a bag of peanuts… ” Kate Long

They are often found in compost heaps, bonfire piles and sheds. Please check bonfires thoroughly before lighting them.  If you can lift them up and relocate them, all the better.  Only lighting the fire from one side may give a sleepy hedgehog a chance of escape. If you do accidentally uncover a hibernating Hedgehog and you consider it to be in a safe place, please cover it up again and let it sleep through the winter. The strangest place I ever found one was in a box of fertilizer.  He had settled between the plastic bag and the bottom of the cardboard box.

I’ve seen so many fantastic ideas recently for Hedgehog houses.  Anything from piles of leaves to purpose built wooden shelters and even houses that look like ‘Hobbit Holes’.  These are all very well and I would encourage everyone to consider making a place for Hedgehogs in your garden…

But can they get in?

I was reminded of this whilst chatting to a delightful gentleman called Chris Morris who was championing the cause for The Wildlife Trusts.

We make our properties so secure these days with high fences and solid gates that we are inadvertently keeping the wildlife out.  Or if it’s already in our gardens when we put up our fortifications it could end up living a solitary and celibate life.

This was brought to light for me some years ago when a client had a gate installed at the side of their house during the redesign of the rear garden.  They discovered that the resident hedgehog no longer had access but they soon resolved that!

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Clients side gate with Hedgehog door.

Spare a thought for the Hedgehog the next time you put up a fence or install a gate. Hedges are favourable but if you have to have a fence and gate try to make sure there’s a space somewhere for the Hedgehog to pass through.  Ask yourself does it really need to be solid, could it have a more open design or could it have a space at the bottom?  If you’re looking for security a very prickly hedge will deter intruders but still allow access for wildlife.

If every household on every housing development and every street in every village allowed access to hedgehogs they would have much broader habitat and you’d have a lot less slugs in your garden!

Thank you on behalf of Hedgehogs everywhere.

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