When your garden gets a bit out of hand many people reach for the handy strimmer or mower sitting in the shed. But how often do you actually check what's in that long grass before you start? Please use the handle of a broom, or even your foot, to gently sweep through the long grass to check for hedgehog nests. Remember a strimmer or mower can cut/slice flesh as well as grass.
Before turning over your compost heap by thrusting a fork into it, just remember there could be a hedgehog or a mother and babies nesting in there. Check first!
Please avoid using slug pellets. It is impossible to stop a hedgehog from eating a poisoned slug. There are plenty of other ways to stop slugs i.e. beer traps, garlic wash, and many other natural means of control which are available and won’t harm a hedgehog.
Ponds, Drains, Holes
Any hole filled with water or capable of filling with water is dangerous. If there is nothing for them to use to get out of the water, they will tire and drown.
If you have a pond with straight sides please add planting baskets near to the edge, or place a stack of bricks/stones under the water level, build a ramp of wood/logs, anything will do.
Cover any holes and ALWAYS cover open drains.
Litter and Garden Rubbish
Litter is a killer and not just of hedgehogs. Hedgehogs can get into things with no problem, but when then try to back out their spines lock into place and they can't move, any hog in this situation will starve to death if it's not found. Don't drop litter. If you put litter into bins please burst a crisp packet before throwing it in, cut through plastic can rings, squash polystyrene cups and rip them in half.
Netting (for fruit/flowers/games)
Please make sure all garden netting is stretched tight and if possible leave a 6”gap between the bottom and the ground to allow hedgehogs to pass safely underneath it.
If you do find a hedgehog trapped in netting, cut the hog free from the main net but do not try to release it completely. Please take the hog and the netting to a vet for it to be removed. The vet can check for injuries, starvation and dehydration. Tight netting will cut off the blood supply and releasing a hog without having it checked can cause further complications.
If you buy new fencing with concrete bases this will mean hedgehogs cannot get in or out of your garden and you will have blocked their normal foraging route. If your neighbours have installed similar fencing then the hogs could be trapped. Try making a tunnel underneath the concrete - it needs to be around 5” square and lined so it doesn't collapse.
Even if your dog is normally placid and friendly it may still attack a hedgehog. Never assume the hog is ok because of its spines as the bite of a dog can crush and cause internal injuries, broken bones and may even piece/tear the hog’s skin and cause wounds. Please get both your dog and the hedgehog to a vet because those spines can damage the dog’s mouth too. If you know your dog is likely to chase small animals in your garden please put the dog on its lead, especially at night. This way both hedgehogs and dogs will be safer.
Article kindly written by Irene Thomson