and to forage for food.
We may live in houses but lots of animals including hedgehogs live right outside your window in gardens, parks, fields, hedges & trees.
There are lots of different ways you can help them.
There are also lots of different ways hedgehogs can get into trouble.
So please have a look around and make your garden hedgehog friendly and be a happy hedgehog friend!
Hedgehogs like to eat lots of different things. Our favourite things to eat are insects and we love to eat beetles, caterpillars and earthworms.
Sometimes there isn't a lot of natural food around for us and we can find it really hard to find enough food.We find it hard to find enough food when it is really hot & sunny for a long time, or if it is very cold. We struggle to find enough food an autumn when we are trying to put lots of weight on so we can sleep through the winter.
You can help us by leaving some food out.
Helping with natural food.
You can help us by making your garden a good place for insects.
- You can plant lots of bushes and plants that attract insects.
- A log pile is great for insects, they like the damp dark space under the wood.
- Leaf piles & compost piles attract lots of insects and also can give me a home. So don't throw those fallen leaves away put them into big piles.
- A small pond attracts insects & also gives me water to drink.
- Ask the grownups not to use chemicals to stop insects in the garden.
Leaving food out for me.
- Dry cat or dog biscuits (if dog biscuits small dog ones). We like chicken and beef flavours.
- Special hedgehog food make by people especially for us.
- Sultanas (just a few)
- Crushed unslalted peanut nibs. (you can get these from the pet shop or garden centre)
- Sunflower hearts.
- Dried Mealworms. (not too many though we like these as a treat.
- Water. We really like clean water in a shallow crock plant saucer. We can tip the plastic ones over!
Did you know that a long time ago people thought that we drank the milk from cows laying down in fields? We didn't but people did used to think that.
When hedgehogs are little they drink milk from their mummies but it is a special hedgehog milk and when baby hedgehogs (called hoglets) are around four or five weeks old they stop drinking this special milk.
Your garden is my home..please keep me safe
Lots of hedgehogs live very near to us, infact right outside your window. Gardens are great places for hedgehogs as long as we look after the garden to make them hedgehog friendly.
Here are a few ideas of how to make your garden a great place for a hedgehog to live.
Hedgehogs like long grass and lots of shrubs, leaves, log piles as well as shorter grass. So a great way to encourage hedgehogs to come into your garden is to leave parts of the garden to be wild. That means letting the grass grow longer and letting plants that very tidy gardeners call 'weeds' to grow.
When the grass has to be cut in the garden or the leaves fall from the trees collecting the grass and leaves and making some small piles of them in the garden helps wildlife including hedgehogs. Getting some logs and making a pile out of those too creates even more places to live and find food (habitat) for wildlife and hedgehogs.
If the grass is being cut please ask adults to check for hedgehogs first. We may have made our home in the long grass and our spikes protect us from other animals but they cant protect us from a lawnmower or garden stimmer.
Hedgehogs use leaves to make their homes but insects also like to live under logs and leaves and hedgehogs love to eat insects. If you have a log pile in the garden carefully lift one of the logs and I bet you will find lots of insects under there. Yum!
Shrub is the name for a woody plant (infact some are actually small trees). Shrubs like Hawthorn and Holly are great for wildlife. They provide berries for food for birds, give birds places to build nests and in case you hadn't guess it hedgehogs like to make their homes in the safe space in among the stems as the bottom of them. That is where our name comes from.. Hedge/Hog. Hedge because we like to make our homes under hedgehogs and hog because we make a snuffling sound when finding food.. a sound a little bit like a pig.
Ponds are great for wildlife. You get lots of insects around ponds as well as the creatures that live in and around them like frogs and dragonfly nymphs. They are good for hedgehogs as well as we can find food around them and we can also have a drink from the pond when we are thirsty.
Did you know that hedgehogs can swim? Well we can and we can swim really well but we do need to be able to get out of the water. So if you have a pond make sure that one edge is a gentle slope down into the pond so if we accidentally fall in we can get out again.
Lots of grownups don't like slugs in the garden and hedgehogs are often called the gardeners friend because they eat slugs. Well slugs are my least favourite food and I only eat them when I am really hungry and can't find anything else to eat. If hedgehogs eat too many slugs they can become very very poorly and if they aren't rescued they can die. So you can help hedgehogs by leaving some food out and by making your garden attractive to lots of different insects with your plants and leaf and log piles. If there are lots of slugs in the garden please ask the adults not to leave poisens down to kill them. Slugs may not be good for hedgehogs but the poisens used to kill them poisen hedgehogs as well!
Ask the adults to find wildlife friendly ways of keep the number of slugs down, a pond can help as well as frogs eat slugs!