Home Wildlife Gardening Hedgehogs in the Garden: A Comprehensive Guide for Young Wildlife Enthusiasts

Hedgehogs in the Garden: A Comprehensive Guide for Young Wildlife Enthusiasts

by Gregory
4 minutes read

Hedgehogs in the Garden: A Guide for Young Wildlife Enthusiasts


Hedgehogs are fascinating creatures that can often be found in gardens, especially in rural and suburban areas. They are known for their spiky coats and their ability to curl up into a ball when threatened. Hedgehogs are beneficial to gardens because they eat pests like slugs and snails. However, their numbers are in decline due to habitat loss, pesticides, and other human-related factors.

Creating a Hedgehog-Friendly Garden

If you want to attract hedgehogs to your garden, there are a few things you can do to make it more welcoming.

  • Create access holes: Hedgehogs need to be able to move freely between gardens. Cut a hole in your fence that is at least 13cm x 13cm (about the size of a CD) to allow hedgehogs to pass through.
  • Plant a hedge: Hedges provide food and shelter for hedgehogs. Choose native plants like hawthorn and hazel, which attract egg-laying moths and increase the number of caterpillars available for hedgehogs to eat.
  • Make ponds safe: If you have a pond in your garden, make sure it has sloping sides or a ramp so that hedgehogs can enter and exit safely.
  • Check before strimming: Before using a strimmer, check long grass for hedgehogs. If you find any, move them to a safe location.
  • Avoid using slug pellets: Conventional slug pellets contain metaldehyde, which is poisonous to hedgehogs. Use wildlife-friendly slug pellets instead, which contain less toxic ingredients.

Signs of Hedgehogs in the Garden

There are several signs that may indicate that hedgehogs are visiting your garden.

  • Hedgehog poo: Hedgehog droppings are dark and may contain the wing cases of beetles and other insects.
  • Hedgehog footprints: Hedgehog footprints are unique and unmistakable. Look for them in the mud or create a hedgehog footprint tunnel.
  • Snuffling noises: Hedgehogs make snuffling noises as they explore their surroundings. You may be able to hear them at night if you leave your windows open.
  • Stick or bedding material: Leave a stick in front of a hedgehog feeding station or nest box, or place bedding material like straw or leaves nearby. Hedgehogs may use these to make a cozy bed.

What to Do If You Find a Hedgehog

If you see a hedgehog in your garden, the best thing to do is nothing. Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals and they will usually go about their business without bothering you. However, there are some situations when you may need to intervene.

  • Hedgehog out during the day in summer: This could be a mother hedgehog foraging for food or water. Stand back and observe the hedgehog for a while. If it is walking in a straight line and with purpose, you can leave it alone. If it is walking in circles or seems disoriented, you should contact a hedgehog rescue center.
  • Hedgehog out during the day in autumn or winter: This could indicate a problem such as being too small to hibernate, lungworm, or organ failure. Contact a hedgehog rescue center immediately.
  • Sick or injured hedgehog: If you find a hedgehog that is sick or injured, wear gloves and place it in a high-sided box with a warm hot water bottle and a towel. Contact a hedgehog rescue center right away.


Hedgehogs are fascinating and beneficial creatures that deserve our protection. By creating a hedgehog-friendly garden and knowing what to do if you find a hedgehog in need, you can help these amazing animals thrive.

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