Help Herts’ Hogs!

Hedgehog (c) Tom Marshall

When have you last seen a hedgehog? Chances are, not so recently. Find out how you can help your local hogs.

Hedgehog numbers are in decline and we’ve already lost a third of our prickly friends over the last decade alone. Hedgehogs usually live in the countryside but can also thrive in urban areas. However, the use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers greatly reduce food sources such as insects and invertebrates. Cities and towns have become more and more hedgehog-un-friendly with impermeable gardens, vanishing and over-tidy green spaces and busy roads. However, there are a few easy and quick ways how you can help your local hedgehogs! 

Create a hedgehog-friendly garden

You can take simple steps to attract hedgehogs to your garden by providing hiding places such as log piles, compost heaps or leaf piles. Create a wildflower patch or a pond to supply the hogs with food and drink opportunities. If you cannot alter your garden substantially or you’re a keen DIYer, you can also build a hedgehog house.

Build a “hedgehog highway”

Hedgehogs don’t live in one garden, their territory spans across a whole neighbourhood. Linking gardens with small holes in fences and thus creating a “hedgehog highway” will help them settle in your area. Ask your neighbours to join you in building a hedgehog-neighbourhood and, accompanied by hog-friendly gardens, you will hopefully soon see some prickly neighbours moving in!

Hedgehog (c) Amy Lewis

Hedgehog (c) Amy Lewis

Put out food for the hedgehogs

As natural food sources are decreasing, the hogs need our help gaining enough weight for hibernation. They’ll happily devour meat-based wet dog or cat food or special hedgehog food left in your garden around sunset. Hedgehogs usually get along with cats and dogs, as they’re well protected by their spines. 

Don’t use pesticides

Please do not use slug pellets or pesticides in your garden. They will not only reduce the number of insects available for hedgehogs to eat, they might also harm hedgehogs directly. Use natural pesticides instead or, even better, let the hogs eat the slugs!

Check your bonfire

Bonfire season is one of the most dangerous times for hedgehogs. Woodpiles make popular nesting or hiding places. If you’re planning to have a bonfire, please do check it for hedgehogs before setting it alight!