Our latest competition winner Ryan Cinato wrote about wanting a hedgehog to come into his garden and it got me thinking about how special and unique these little creatures are. Hedgehogs are a gardener’s friend and a welcome visitor in any garden.
Everyone knows what a hedgehog looks like but did you know that there are approximately 5,000/7,000 spines on an average adult hedgehog each one is 25mm(1”) long, they are really modified hairs and are absent from the face, throat, chest, belly and legs where they are covered with coarse, grey-brown fur. Something that I did not know is that hedgehogs have a small tail.
If you want to help hedgehogs and encourage them to your garden why not start by putting out some Hedgehog Food for them. At this time of year, end March beginning of April, hedgehogs should be emerging from their winter hibernation and will be very hungry. A hedgehogs natural diet consists of earthworms, slugs, beetles caterpillars, snails etc. these become harder to find in cold or dry weather but to supplement their diet during these difficult times and when they need it most (after hibernation, when they have young and prior to hibernation) we can help them by putting out food do not put out milk and bread as the hedgehog cannot digest the bread and cows milk gives them very bad diarrhoea, many hedgehogs die because of this wrong diet.
At The Recycleworks we love hedgehogs and have some ready mixed Hedgehog Food, it is similar to a hedgehog’s natural diet and following trials with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society our improved recipe includes chopped peanuts, sunflower hearts, dried mealworms, sultanas and dried blackberries. As the food contains dried ingredients, be sure to put out a bowl of fresh water as well. Any food should be placed somewhere where dogs and cats cannot get at it, especially if it contains raisins and sultanas as if eaten even in small quantities these dried fruits can cause cats and dogs serious kidney problems.
Food should be put out in the evening and ideally in a hedgehog feeding station so that only the hedgehog can get to it, the easiest way to make one of these is to place a paving slab on some bricks, leaving a gap as an entrance hole and put the Feeding Bowl in the middle underneath the paving slab with the Water Bowl outside.
For your little or big Hedgehog enthusiast why not treat them to a Hedgehog Field Guide this four page guide includes lots of facts and information on feeding and encouraging hedgehogs to your garden.