A Conversation for Wildlife Gardening - Mammals and Birds
muttoneer Started conversation Jul 22, 2008
I must question the advice not to feed hedgehogs when they enter your garden. Yes, hedgehogs can be an excellent means of keeping down the slug and snail populations of your garden, but you'll find the hedgehog's preferred diet is the rather more helpful beetle or earthworm. A hedgehog reduced to eating slugs is a very hungry hedgehog indeed.
Hedgehogs are a protected species in the UK nowadays and should be encouraged to thrive in any garden where there it is safe for them to exist. Leave out some cat or dog food, ideally the crunchy type (chicken flavour works well) and provide some drinking water. The best way to stop cats from eating what you leave out is to position the food under cover where a cat can't get to it. Personally I have built a small brick enclosure about 2ft x 1ft with a stone slab on top and an entranceway with a right angle in it to deter cats. I place food and water in it in the evening and more often than not I get prickly visitors. They are great fun to watch.
If you leave food out for hedgehogs all year you will be helping:
- Those who come out of hibernation in the spring
- Hedgehog mothers foraging to feed their young in the summer
- Late-born hedgehogs that would otherwise be too small to hibernate in the autumn
- Insomniac hedgehogs in the winter!
Other than that, a well presented series of articles. Well done
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