Protected by law since 1976, the hedgehog is gaining notoriety as a small insectivorous mammal playing an essential role in biodiversity. You are right to want to attract hedgehogs to your garden: this auxiliary animal sleeps all day and is active at night. How can you welcome them properly? You just have to arrange your garden, offer him a comfortable shelter and an adapted boarding for hedgehogs.
Make your garden a haven for hedgehogs
It is important to arrange your garden, especially your lawn where the hedgehog will walk for long hours. Boxwood or fir hedges will provide shade, coolness and camouflage, as will piles of dead leaves, stored wood or logs. Indeed, you can afford not to remove all the piles of plant waste that provide a perfect safe hiding place for your hedgehog. You should also be careful to avoid external traps: you will need to plug holes and openings in which your hedgehog could get stuck, such as in a vegetable or plant protection net or plastic sheeting. You are asked to put away your gardening tools or lawnmower. Of course, these sharp materials can injure the fragile animal. Also, you can create small openings through the fence or the wooden fences: ask however for the agreement of your neighbor, if these are joint (a small opening of 10 cm is enough for the passage of the hedgehog). Finally, remember to close your swimming pool (cover or shutter), as it is common for adventurous hedgehogs to fall into the water and unfortunately drown.
Provide food adapted to hedgehogs
It’s not difficult to provide good food for a hedgehog: forest fruits, apple pieces, mushrooms, cat or puppy food (with fresh meat), leftover chicken or ham. Be aware that these leftover foods are given occasionally, as the hedgehog’s hunting instinct must be preserved. So, twice a week, you will bring him a plate of delicacies in a flower pot for example, the rest of the time, he will hunt himself his preys to feed himself naturally.
Responsible for the degradation of your vegetable garden, compost insects such as grubs, earthworms, slugs, larvae, snails and caterpillars devour all your fruits and vegetables. Don’t worry if you have a hedgehog around. A true pest predator and night hunter, it will eat all the insects in its path while you sleep. After so many delicious meals, your little hedgehog will appreciate a bowl full of water, especially in hot weather.
Some foods are toxic for hedgehogs: cow’s milk, bread and chocolate. Also avoid giving him large or medium size kibbles. Also, you should ban toxic products. Pesticides of all kinds, weed killers, rat poisoners, slug pellets are chemical substances that are harmful to the health of the hedgehog. It risks poisoning itself, while it protects your vegetable garden. Instead, use natural products such as vinegar, or weed by hand.
Build a discreet and comfortable hedgehog shelter
Take a simple wooden crate or box that you can place under vegetation, sheltered from wind and rain. Make an opening of 20 cm so that the animal can slip inside. Do not line the nest, as the hedgehog will be happy to make itself comfortable underneath by bringing back a few twigs found here and there.
Do not cage or lock it up: it is a protected wild animal.
Let it have free will, don’t interfere in its way of moving or feeding in the wild. Your eco-responsible attitude reinforces the protection of the planet
During the winter period (from November to April), the hedgehog hibernates, so it will need a warm and dry place to spend this cold season.
To conclude, make your garden a safe and friendly place for your hedgehog friend. Follow these tips and help extend the life of your hedgehog so that you can enjoy its company for a long time.