I find it very sad when I hear about how many hedgehogs we have lost over the last few years. During winter they hibernate and this makes them a little vulnerable. They begin to look for a space to hide away at the end of Autumn and once temperatures drop that’s where they head. They create a nest or safe, dry and warm place to get them over winter before reappearing in the spring. They make their nests from dried foliage and vegetation in your garden, often finding space in compost heaps, under hedges or at the back of your shed. Before they hibernate they need to build up their weight to get them through the winter.
Slugs, snails etc are their usual foods but sadly, they too become harder to find. You can top up a hedgehog’s food with a small amount of dog or cat food or meal worms but not too much as you could cause an dietary imbalance. Remember they are lactose intolerant, therefore do not give them milk. Fresh water is the best option.
It’s not just hedgehogs who appreciate a good garden shelter over the winter. Bugs and amphibians including frogs, newts and toads benefit too. Centipedes and beetles will also be on the look-out. Your woodpile will soon become a haven of activity which will also attract slugs and snails, giving a variety of creatures including birds a delicious food source.
Simply pile up logs and dead branches in a quiet corner of your garden and let the wood gently rot.
Look to these charities for more ideas:
Wildlife Trust www.wildlifetrusts.org
St Tiggy Winkles www.sttiggywinkles.org.uk