Home > Garden Mammals > Caring for Hedgehogs in the Garden

Caring for Hedgehogs in the Garden

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 15 Oct 2020 | comments*Discuss
Hedgehogs In Garden Caring For Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs are a useful ally to gardeners in that they eat snails slugs and other pests which can cause damage to plants. Their numbers are in decline which is partially due to environmental pollution and the steadily increasing loss of their own natural habitat.

How We Can Help Hedgehogs
In order to help hedgehogs, gardeners should avoid using slug pellets because, as well as hedgehogs helping you get rid of a slug problem naturally, the pellets can also kill hedgehogs and even if they don’t eat the pellets directly, if the slugs they eat have been poisoned, this will also be absorbed into the hedgehogs’ body tissue too. You can supplement a hedgehog’s natural diet especially in autumn when they need to accumulate fat before they go into hibernation for the winter.

What to Feed Hedgehogs
Tinned cat or dog food and even dry dog food is a useful addition to a hedgehog’s diet. They’ll also eat things like bacon rind. You should also ensure that you put out fresh water with any food you leave but you shouldn’t feed a hedgehog milk or bread in large amounts as they can cause diarrhoea.

Providing Nesting Sites
Although some gardeners choose to build hedgehog houses, they are very resourceful creatures and will make nest sites under sheds, amongst piles of wood and under mounds of leaves so it’s useful to keep a part of your garden a little bit ‘wild’ if you want to attract hedgehogs to it.

Beware Of Holes and Ponds
Hedgehogs seem to have little fear of danger when it comes to locations into which they might fall, so you should keep ponds covered along with any steep-sided holes you might have in your garden. Falling into drains is another problem which hedgehogs can encounter. If it’s not possible to cover holes entirely, you should create some small makeshift ramps out of small planks near to any dangerous holes so that if a hedgehog should suffer a misfortunate fall, it can climb out again with relative ease. Some people with ponds, for example, will often place chunks of polystyrene in the pond which can act as a makeshift float until a hedgehog can be safely rescued.

Making a Careful Check
Always check carefully before carrying out any routine gardening duties. If you’ve been gathering wood and other material which you intend burning on a bonfire, for example, check underneath it first before lighting as this is an obvious place for a hedgehog to build its nest. Likewise, when using spades, forks, mowers and strimmers etc., be sure that you are not operating your equipment in a location where a hedgehog might be seeking refuge or hibernating. Netting can also cause problems with hedgehogs getting trapped within it. You should keep an eye on any netting which you are using to cover plants off the ground – the same goes for similar material such as barbed wire.

Contact With Hedgehogs
Whilst having a hedgehog in your garden can seem very similar to keeping a pet (especially to children), it’s important to remember that these are wild animals and their spines are also sharp, so you should avoid picking one up unless you suspect that it’s injured. They can also harbour hedgehog fleas so personal contact should be avoided where possible. If you do have to pick up a hedgehog, make sure you wear suitable gardening gloves.

Injured Hedgehogs
Hedgehogs are generally nocturnal creatures so if you do see one in the daytime, it’s possible that it’s injured or sick. New borns found wandering around in a disoriented fashion in early autumn are possibly not going to be able to survive the winter without human intervention but they are extraordinarily capable of adapting to being brought indoors. A large box or cage with straw at the bottom in a ventilated room is perfect, but once again remember that they carry with them a whole armada of fleas and ticks so if you have other pets be wary and try to handle them as little as possible as hedgehogs are not pets after all. Your pet might not take too kindly to this extra presence either. However, if things seem to be working out OK, a hedgehog can survive on a diet of dog and cat food along with regular drinking water until it’s safe to release it in the springtime. If you require more help because of a sick or injured hedgehog in your garden, call your local RSPCA or the British Hedgehog Preservation Society for more advice.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
I saw four young hedgehogs in my garden today they were foraging around for about an hour. Think they are nesting in leaves at the bottom of my garden. They seemed to be ok but should I be worried they’re out in the day.
Pj - 15-Oct-20 @ 9:59 PM
I found a baby hog in my garden this afternoon wandering around disoriented. After some googling it seem to have hypothermia. A hot water bottle , food and water and around 5 hours later seems much better. In fact trying to get out of the box. Do I let it go back in the garden tonight?
Hugs - 28-Sep-20 @ 8:38 PM
How do I stop a hedgehog making holes in my lawn. It was ok at first but the holes are getting deeper and increasing in number.
Bez - 25-Sep-20 @ 10:40 AM
Heard a scuffling noise in my bushes (lots of dried leaves there).To my surprise I found a female hedgehog 4pm.Didnt seem distressed.Hoping she is making a nest!put some cat found out around her and covered her back up with leaves.Went back in garden half hour later and heard her eating the food.Do you think she is nesting or is she poorly?
Hodgy - 24-Jul-20 @ 4:11 PM
We had a hedgehog coming and going all day yesterday. It was foraging in the plants and bushes and was pulling leaves and grass from hedges and carrying it in its mouth. We don't know where it has come from or how. The children were watching it all day. We put some water out and puppy biscuits and it ate quite a lot of it. We haven't seen it today so we are wondering if it could have been a pregnant female as it was quite large and seemed on a mission. Hope it's OK. I thought we hadn't had as many slugs or snails this year. What can we do to help it and keep it coming back? X
Kyle - 11-Jul-20 @ 10:09 PM
Had hogs for years in our garden at night but this week have had a large hog coming to feed at 6pm, seems fine, is that usual to be so early.P
Bird watcher - 8-Jun-20 @ 6:44 PM
Hi, Bit of a dilemma... found a hedgehog under my sofa this morning! ( well, the dog did).. We've moved him or her to a quiet, cool & private area in the shed, some bedding,water & escape arch... I will pop feed in there tonight... could this be a female looking to make her nest? I think she was confused and possibly stressed last night by my dog pestering her..or him even?? Tbh, it's been lovely,odd and a funny tale at work today.. I hope she or he stays!! Her ( if a she ) has been named Sofia!! Rather apt :)
Red - 29-May-20 @ 4:43 PM
We have a resident hedgehog who been in the garden each night for the last 9 months. Also down the garden and I think must live under the shed at the end of the garden. We recently got two baby guinea pigs and there hutch is by the back door on the patio. Tonight we noticed the hedgehog was trying to almost get into the hutch run. It had come all the way down the garden. Any ideas? I can only think it was being either nosey or after food maybe?
Jaz - 14-May-20 @ 11:20 PM
Had 1 very amorous male and 2 not so keen female 'hogs in the garden last night. They were totally oblivious to me and came very close as I sat and watched them. He was still wooing one wage I went to bed so don't know if she succumbed to his charms.
Lilli - 14-May-20 @ 10:47 AM
I have a hedgehog hotel in my garden. It has dried leaves in it and I put fresh water and fresh food in it. Will the hedgehogs hibernate in the hotel?
Bunny - 10-May-20 @ 8:39 PM
Will 2 female hedgehog share a house,possibly if pregnant?
VOK - 10-Apr-20 @ 11:06 AM
I have 3 hedgehogs visiting the house in my garden,1 Male and 2 female,should the female both become pregnant,will they be happy to share the house,or should I make another one? Thanks
VOK - 10-Apr-20 @ 11:03 AM
Rang RSPCA for hedgehog advice as a small one was wandering in our road. The operator said to put it by a hedge under any greenery which I did and then the hedgehog fell asleep. I covered it with leaves and checked on it later and it was fine. Hopefully hibernating for winter
Pelly - 16-Nov-19 @ 10:04 AM
We have a hedgehog that visits our garden quite regularly ,started leaving dry dogbiscuits slightly moistened with water and fresh water in a little bowl . We daren't move anything in the garden in case wedisturb it ,if it's living in our garden that is .We've had s good look round but can't actually spot where it's staying but there are plenty of piles of leaves and such ,so we presume it's around there. We live next to a busy road and I'm really worried it's going to venture out and get run over ... cos many car drivers don't seem to care. We feel really honoured to have a hedgehog !.
Kevvy - 8-Sep-19 @ 9:41 PM
I have neighbours that are removing the hedgehogs from the hedges cause they want the hedges cut
Magcat - 25-Jul-19 @ 12:12 AM
I have just found a little hedgehog 6pm in the daylight..very small. Do I put it back where I found it as there was no mum around that I could hear or see or take it into our vets tomorrow (where I took another last year) please ? X
Boo - 17-Jul-19 @ 8:45 PM
I have a hedgehog in my garden with babies. I put a small dog kennel out last winter for my cats .they never used it.there hay in there it's very cosy.she must have liked it
Ragtag - 2-Jul-19 @ 9:01 PM
Anu - A hedgehog is a wild animal. they should not be bought and sold like pets. They wander often several miles on a night and should be left to do so. Do not buy a hedgehog. Report the people who are sellling them to the RSPCA.
den - 30-May-19 @ 5:05 PM
I have 2 headghogs in my shed I’m feeding them now with hedgehog food and bugs are the a couple and have they got babies
Jayne Vermeulen - 3-May-19 @ 9:11 PM
We are planning to buy a hedgehog and we want to know if we can keep it outside with out a cage
Anu - 29-Apr-19 @ 8:35 PM
Hi, I just saw a hedgehog wandering around in our garden tonight, and I guess it is out of hibernation because of the warm weather at the moment for the season. Hopefully it isn't going to freeze any time soon, but what can be done in case winter weather comes back?
Oli - 21-Feb-19 @ 10:03 PM
I found a hedgehog in my garden when the dog was barking at night. He/she seems large- as it is winter, should he not be hibernating? Could she be pregnant as large?Only seen at night.I will leave food at dusk, should I do something else? (Besides keeping dog away).
Kelly - 16-Feb-19 @ 9:35 AM
I have what looks like a young hedgehog in my garden I leave worter and cat food for it what else can I do
Spike - 11-Nov-18 @ 6:02 PM
When would be the best time to put my hedgehog house out with hay and hedgehog food.
RoseBower - 10-Nov-18 @ 10:26 PM
I have seen a a hedgehog in my garden the last few nights been feeding with kitten food and water. Should I put a hedgehog house there with some straw ready for his hibernation? Would like some advice please. It looks like a young hedgehog. Sheila
Sheila Terry - 8-Nov-18 @ 6:56 AM
There has been a hedgehog coming through my garden now for 8 years. Yes 8 years. I am worried for my dog. Should I be ??
Wee mee - 24-Oct-18 @ 9:29 AM
We saw a hedgehog in the garden about 3 months ago and have been putting out kitten biscuits for it and it now comes every evening for supper. Then about a month ago there were two of them and to our elation last night there were 3. We will continue to put the biscuits out and we think they are possibly living behind the shed. We are surrounded by fields so we are fairly sure they are reasonably safe from the quiet lane. Is there anything else we should be doing to keep them coming and most importantly keep them safe ?
Derrick - 18-Sep-18 @ 10:32 AM
I have 2 adults and a baby ,small garden but quiet ,I have left top part overgrown and log piles .The 2 large ones have been there for 2 yrs and don't venture out of garden All though they can .saw baby with them last night ,I used to have a slug problem so thanks hedgehogs ??.catbuiscuits and fresh water treats tonight ...every night for 2 yrs in fact
Dazza - 29-Aug-18 @ 9:56 AM
I've recently seen a largishHog in my garden// & in the past few days a small one eating left over cat food (for birds !)/ but this morning a small one was behind a basket in my bedroom... my cat is young & naughty... could he possibly carried it in? I don't think the hog cd manage to walk in/only other thing... a naughty young visitor playing tricks !//Also.. how many babies do they have?
PiP - 20-Jul-18 @ 2:58 PM
Saw a hedgehog on our farm today first time for 15 years. Came out from under log pile at 6 am. Pulled at dry grass. Mouth looked full, rather like he/ she had a moustache . Disappeared back under the Woodpile. Would he/ she be making a nest? Fetched my camera , but did not appear again. When would he / she be likely to appear again? How can I help him or her or both to lead a happy life. Surrounded by pasture land, field pond 50 yards from woodpile. Thank you Atta
Atta - 12-Jun-18 @ 7:27 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments