As we write this guide (in 2019), The UK hedgehog population is in crisis with numbers having been in sharp decline for some years now.
This has been caused by several factors; loss of hedgerow habitat, increased predator numbers and high numbers lost to road traffic. As householders, we’re also partly to blame, as more and more of us put fences and walls up to mark our territories and establish boundaries. It’s a shame to see these popular, prickly snufflers suffering, as apart from being cute they do their bit to help us by eating slugs and snails. Since they earn their keep like this, it’s good to know we can do our bit to help them out.
What Can I Do?
Create a Hedgehog Highway
A good place to start is by ensuring you leave hedgehog-sized gaps in your fences (or under gates) to enable the ‘hogs to roam from garden to garden. A space the size of a CD will do the trick.
Keep Them Hydrated
Leave a bowl of water out but put small rocks in the bowl to prevent the water evaporating quickly. Dehydration in hedgehogs was a leading cause of death in the summer of 2018.
Be Careful Moving any Stacks or Mounds in your Garden
These special, spiny spectres of the night will often take shelter under piles of leaves or other debris, so please make sure to alert them by making plenty of noise before you wade in with a bladed implement like shears, a strimmer or mower.
Give them a Home
Now, this won’t be for everyone but giving a hedgehog a little house to stay in is a great way of keeping them safe. All you need is a box and tunnel, the hedgehog will do the rest but putting down some straw/dry leaves is a nice touch. Ensure to allow easy access into the main box but keep the height of the tunnel around 13cm high so other animals have less of a chance of getting in. You are able to buy some premade hedgehog homes online to save you time.
Cover your ponds
Whilst hedgehogs are known to be good swimmers there is a still a risk something could happen, of course covering your pond defeats the purpose of having one we suggest putting in little slopes or ladders to help any animal climb out. Laying an edging around the pond will help as hedgehogs are rather small so will not be able to climb over.