Hedgehogs – Can You Hear Rustling?
Often, the first inkling that you have a hedgehog in your garden comes when you hear the tell-tale sound of rustling in amongst the leaves.
Hedgehogs are broadly protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 and the government saw fit to produce a document on how to welcome hedgehogs into your garden (please click here to read the article) when it was recently petitioned to further protect the species.
One of the problems though, is that as hedgehogs are nocturnal, it’s always that obvious to tell if we have them in our garden?
So, here are a few ‘tell-tale’ signs that we look for on the farm!
- Little footprints when the ground is really soft.
- Poo around and that is a very good indicator! See picture below.
- Tracks through the grass of a lawn or small tunnels through undergrowth as they go about their foraging.
- Hedgehogs are noisier than you think, and you may hear them snuffling and huffing around as they search for food.
If you discover you have a hedgehog:
- Set up a hedgehog house or feeding station? Food and fresh water will encourage hedgehogs to return.
- Create ‘wild’ areas in your garden with leaves and logs in piles.
- Hedgehogs are a gardener’s friend, as they eat snails, slugs and insects.
Take the following action
- Cover drains and holes and place bricks at the side of ponds.
- Check before using strimmer’s or mowers, particularly under hedges where animals may rest.
- Build bonfires as close to time of lighting as possible and check them thoroughly before lighting.
- Remove netting when not in use to prevent hedgehogs becoming entangled, and getting injured.
- Slug pellets can poison hedgehogs and should only be used as a last resort. Instead try using one of many “natural” alternatives, like sprinkling crushed eggshells or coffee grounds around the plants you need to protect.
Follow this link for more interesting facts and handy hints on helping to keep the hedgehogs around for another 15 million years.