Helping hedgehogs

Helping hedgehogs

 © Tom Marshall

Prickly characters

Small, round, brown and famously covered in spines, the Hedgehog is one of our most iconic mammals.

Hedgehogs eat all kinds of pests - particularly big, crunchy beetles and slugs, making them a gardener's best friend. Insect-rich lawns and flowerbeds make great feeding grounds, so a wildlife friendly garden will attract them to your patch.

Hedgehog Notts WT cpt Amy Lewis

Amy Lewis

Why don’t we see hedgehogs?

Hedgehogs are disappearing faster than tigers! Numbers have fallen by nearly a third since 2002. In 1950 the UK population was roughly 30 million, but now fewer than one million are left.

Their decline can be blamed on the loss of hedgerows, over-management of parks and gardens, loss of green space to paving/decking and the use of chemical pesticides, leading to fewer insects for hedgehogs to eat.

How do I know if hedgehogs visit my garden?

Look out for hedgehog poo; medium-sized, black droppings consisting of beetles and other insects, often found on the lawn and looks like a slug!

Have you seen a hedgehog?

If you have seen a hedgehog dead or alive, please let us know!

We are looking for Nottinghamshire's hedgehog hotspots - the more we know about their distribution, the better we can help these precious creatures.

Record a sighting


How you can help hedgehogs

Follow our top tips for helping hedgehogs at home.

Hedgehog highways

Cut a small hole in the bottom of your garden fence to provide a corridor for hedgehogs to move between gardens. They can travel up to 2km a night!

A 13cm by 13cm hole  is sufficient for any hedgehog to pass through. This will also be too small for most pets.

Home sweet home

Build or buy a hedgehog house and locate it in a quiet corner of your garden.

See our instructions below to make a hedgehog home.

hedgehog home_0

Cut the chemicals

Reduce poisonous garden pesticides and ditch slug pellets for environmentally friendly alternatives. Hedgehogs will also eat slugs and other garden pests.

Yellow Slug2 Derbyshire NottsWT cpt Philip Precey

Philip Precey

What's for dinner?

Don’t be too tidy, leave a pile of leaves in a corner, keep a section of your lawn long  and provide a log pile that will harbor lots of tasty invertebrate snacks.

Hedgehogs also relish meat-based wet dog or cat food or cat biscuits (no fish). Place in a shallow dish and put in a sheltered area of your garden at dusk. You can also buy special hedgehog food. Don't forget to put out water too.

NEVER give a hedgehog cow’s milk or bread as this is extremely harmful to them.

Hedgehogs and bonfires

Check compost heaps before digging in a fork. Also check your bonfire for hibernating hedgehogs before lighting it in autumn - a good tip is to leave it until the last minute or ring the pile with chickenwire.

Log pile NottsWT cpt Scott Petrek

Scott Petrek

Wildlife gardening

Discover more ways that you can care for wildlife in your garden

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Jon Hawkins - Surrey Hills Photography