07 Oct Make your garden hedgehog-friendly
With the onset of Autumn comes the need to tidy our gardens and make some preparations for spring – deadheading flowers and weeding borders, planting new perennials and sowing hardy annuals, and it’s also a great time to think about our hedgehogs, which will soon begin to consider where best to build their nests in readiness for hibernation.
the Experts in Property network of independent estate agents’ ‘Hedgehog Friendly Properties’ campaign continues throughout the seasons to help support and emphasise to all, the importance of the preservation of our prickly friends, of which numbers in the UK are in rapid decline.
This month, the estate agents are advising vendors, landlords and everyone who has a garden to take hedgehogs into account when thinking about their gardens. There are several measures that can be taken, which can help to protect, as well as provide essential food and shelter for hedgehogs.
- Create log piles or let an area become overgrown. Leaving a corner of your garden untended, piling leaves or building a log pile will attract more insects for hedgehogs to eat as well as provide a safe site with potential for nesting. Once created, don’t disturb.
- Don’t use netting. Hedgehogs can get tangled in garden netting so try to use a more rigid structure for covering plants or keep it high enough off the ground for them to pass under. Tie up sports netting when not in use. If you have used netting, make sure it’s removed from the garden when it is no longer needed.
- Don’t use chemicals. Stop the use of chemicals, pesticides and slug pellets, which reduce the insect population and can be poisonous to hedgehogs.
- Make ponds safe. Garden ponds can be great resources for hedgehogs, providing a year-round water source. Be aware that hedgehogs can swim but need gently sloping sides or an escape ramp for a safe exit.
- No strimming. Stop, or check before strimming or mowing as this can injure or kill hedgehogs.
- Put out food, but no bread or milk. Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant, and bread is low in energy, so opt for water in a shallow bowl as well as meaty dog or cat food, meaty hedgehog food, or cat biscuits, which are all good options.
- Create ‘hedgehog highways’. Linking gardens together with 13cm x 13cm square hedgehog-sized gaps in walls and fences allows the creatures to roam more easily from garden to garden, joining up valuable habitat away from the danger of roads and traffic.
- Bonfires look like a great option for a cosy home for a hedgehog! Move piles just before they are to be lit and carefully check materials. After checking light from one side only to allow an escape route should you have missed anything.
- Make a hedgehog home. And last but not least, build a hedgehog house – somewhere safe and cosy, inaccessible to cats and foxes, for hedgehogs to nest or feed – plans can be found here.
The Experts in Property ‘Hedgehog seal of approval’ is being awarded to hedgehog-friendly properties for sale and to rent across Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Bristol, and independent estate agent members throughout the region are sharing advice on how to help save the iconic species.
For more information and to find your local office of the Experts in Property, visit www.theexpertsinproperty.co.uk.