How To Help Hedgehogs Our Pest Control Friends
Hedgehogs are more than just cute faces. They’re also invaluable allies in natural pest control, helping to keep your garden free from insects and slugs. However, they’re facing a concerning decline in numbers due to heavy traffic on roads and habitat loss caused by urbanisation and agriculture.
This article will explore how to help hedgehogs stay safe and create a comfortable habitat for them in your garden.
Benefits of Hedgehogs in Your Garden
Seeing a hedgehog in your garden can be a heart-warming experience for adults and children alike. But did you know they can play a vital role in maintaining the balance of your garden’s ecosystem? By eating a diet consisting of insects and invertebrates, hedgehogs can positively impact biodiversity conservation.
Supporting hedgehogs can enhance the health of your garden and promote a thriving and diverse environment.
Tips to Encourage Hedgehogs into Your Garden
Providing an access point is a great way to encourage hedgehogs into your garden. This can be achieved by creating a small gap in your fence. Ensure it is at least 13cm wide so they can easily enter or exit the garden.
If you have a small dog that likes to dig and escape, consider purchasing cute hedgehog travel gates that you can screw onto your fence to make it difficult for your beloved dog to squeeze through.
Make a Hedgehog House
As well as being nocturnal, meaning they’re active during the night, hedgehogs are known to hibernate during the winter. Therefore, they require a safe, cosy resting place. To give them shelter, create a little house for them stuffed with comfortable insulation. Bundles of dry leaves, straw and hay are all ideal bedding materials for a hedgehog to build a snug nest inside.
Plant a Hedge
For a more natural approach, plant a hedge in your garden. This will provide hedgehogs with warmth and shelter within the dense foliage and the opportunity to forage insects in the vegetation.
A hedge could also be planted as an alternative to fencing, giving hedgehogs a natural pathway into the garden. This method can also help support and enhance biodiversity.
Cover Pond and Drains
Though hedgehogs are known to be excellent swimmers, they can easily fall into open water features and struggle to escape, putting them at risk of drowning.
If you have a pond and exposed drains in your garden, consider purchasing secure covers or ramps to allow hedgehogs to access your garden safely and without fear.
Provide Water and Natural Food
Helping hedgehogs access food and water without attracting unwanted pests can be tricky. However, it’s achievable if you use shallow dishes as a water bowl and place them in a quiet, sheltered spot. For food, offer specialised hedgehog food or wet cat/dog food in a designated feeding station with raised sides that only hedgehogs can access.
As hedgehogs feast at night, provide food only in the evenings to reduce the likelihood of daytime intruders. Also, avoid using bird feeders, which can tempt unwanted pests like rats.
How can DIY Pest Control Impact Hedgehogs?
Using chemical pesticides and slug pellets in gardens can potentially harm hedgehogs. Hedgehogs are known to consume slugs and other insects as part of their diet, and if they ingest poisoned prey, it can be detrimental to their health. Therefore, it’s essential to exercise caution and opt for alternative pest control methods such as natural repellents. Remember, it’s always recommended that you contact a pest control company rather than tackle any pest issues yourself.