It’s Hedgehog Week in the UK – so we have decided to make it a thing here too! To mark it we have a hedgehog activity for you to do in your garden.
Hedgehogs are one of our most loved animals. With their spiky coats, they are easy to recognise, but because they only come out at night, they are not often seen unless you have some in your garden. Unfortunately, hedgehog numbers are declining across Europe as they suffer from habitat loss due to changing land use, road mortality and pesticides. They are no longer as abundant in the countryside as they used to be and so gardens are becoming important refuges for our spiky friends.
One way you can support and attract hedgehogs in your garden is to put out food and water for them. You can buy hedgehog food in some pet shops and online, but ordinary wet cat or dog food will do. Dry kitten food is also good – but don’t use kibble for adult cats or dogs as it is often too big for them. Its very important to put out a shallow dish of water also.
To stop other animals such as cats or foxes getting the food you can make a simple hedgehog feeding station. There are oodles of ideas online for making ‘hedgehog cafes’ so you can have a look through some pictures and videos for inspiration. Here are the instructions for making a simple hedgehog feeding station.
You will need:
- A large plastic storage box (at least 30cm x 45cm),
- A hacksaw or strong scissors
- Insulation tape
- 2 Bricks
Start by cutting an entrance hole 13cm x 13cm on one of the short sides of the box. Use the insulation tape to cover the sharp edges of the entrance.
Place the food and water dishes under the box at the end away from the entrance.
Place one brick on top of the box and the other width ways about 13cm from the entrance – this will stop larger animals swiping the food.
Hedgehogs can be very messy eaters – they will often walk through their food and water bowls and may even poo in their new feeding spot so it is important to check and clean the box every day and leave out fresh food and water in the evening.
If you see a hedgehog, please record your sighting for the Irish Hedgehog survey at this link. https://www.biodiversityireland.ie/projects/additional-survey-schemes/irish-hedgehog-survey/
There are lots of things you can do to make your garden more friendly for hedgehogs and other animals. The two booklets below have some excellent advice for simple changes you can make around the garden that will benefit the prickly ones.