How and Why To Encourage Hedgehogs In Your Garden


Hedgehogs are one of the more endearing of all the wildlife helpers of organic gardeners. Sadly, hedgehog numbers are rapidly decreasing and if we are not careful, we could lose this iconic mammal all together. Help with conservation efforts and you will get some help in return – hedgehogs will happily eat their way through a number of different

pests, helping to balance your garden ecosystem and making your life, as an organic gardener, a whole lot easier.

To an organic gardener this should already be a given, but for those adjusting to a new regime – never, ever put down slug pellets or any other poisons or pesticides as these can have a huge negative effect on the wildlife where you live – including poor Mrs Tiggywinkle. It is up to us to help make sure that we retain our biodiversity, and that begins in our gardens.

HedgehogA garden that is too well maintained is not going to be good for the wildlife around. Make sure that you leave some wilder corners in your garden to give hedgehogs and other creatures some cover. A brush pile will help as this can give hedgehogs a safe place to rest for the winter. Native plantings will give hedgehogs a good habitat as well as sources of food. The planting scheme you use will have a large role to play in creating a balanced ecosystem that is the perfect environment for organic food production.

Hedgehog foodIf your garden is enclosed with fences, you can aid local hedgehogs and make sure that they have access by creating small tunnels or gaps through which they can enter and leave your space. In order to make your space more attractive to hedgehogs and in order to ensure that they have enough to eat, especially when they need to fatten up for winter, leave out minced meat, meaty dog food, or chopped boiled eggs. Do not ever leave milk for hedgehogs – instead, leave a shallow dish of water.

Hedgehog on grassAlternatively, a pond can provide hedgehogs with drinking water. But when you create your garden pond it is important to make sure it is safe for hedgehogs and that they can easily escape and climb out if they fall in.

Your compost heap can be a good place for hedgehogs to hibernate and to hunt for insects, slugs and other pests. Always check your compost heap carefully for signs of wildlife before you turn it over. If you suspect there may be hedgehogs in the vicinity, try not to empty your compost before April so you do not disturb any wildlife hibernating over the winter. Likewise, check carefully before mowing your lawn.