Garden as organically as you can, let hedgehogs and other wildlife be your pest controllers. Please don’t use chemicals, slug pellets or weedkillers. Leave at least one corner a little bit “wild” with plenty of ground cover and arching shrubs for them to nest under. You will attract more insects and birds if you plant native species which have nectar rich flowers and berries to eat.
Leave seedheads on plants overwinter to provide places for insects
The aim is to attract ALL forms of wildlife from the tiniest bug to toads and hedgehogs, so it is most important to give up using harmful chemical sprays.
The most obvious first step is to STOP USING GARDEN CHEMICALS and let nature’s pest controllers do the work for you. Pesticides are indiscriminate – you never know what else they may kill or harm – the first time you spray you kill both pests and their predators, but as the pests breed faster, they will get out of control because you will have also destroyed the beneficial insects which feed on them. If you must use something – use organic sprays – they break down faster (e.g. pyrethrum or soft soap) spot treat pest colonies and use the least toxic product you can, move helpful insects like ladybirds before spraying.
Make sure hedgehogs can get in and out of your garden:
Make a hole in your fence or gate.....
SLUG PELLETS can kill hedgehogs, cats and dogs (if you really have to use them, choose “hedgehog friendly” ones and put them in a narrow pipe or under a slab and remove dead slugs every day). Remember, hedgehogs may still eat the poisoned slugs. Other methods to try are: beer traps (yoghurt pots or bottles sunk into the ground partly filled with beer), or barrier methods including: lime, soot, fine gravel, forest bark or human hair round your plants, or protect plants with cut off milk cartons or plastic bottles. Half grapefruit skins placed upside down may attract slugs and you can remove them the next day. Parasitic nematodes are very effective in greenhouses, hanging baskets and containers.
If you use weedkillers you destroy the natural homes and food source of many predatory and parasitic insects. Organic gardening aims to recreate a natural balance between pests and predators by attracting beneficial creatures (of all sizes, including hedgehogs) to feed, breed and make their homes in your garden.
Strimmers and blades: Check carefully before you use a strimmer, scythe or mower, cut 2’ or 0.5 m above the ground first, then check for hedgehogs and then cut lower to the ground if you wish. We see some horrific injuries caused by cutting tools every year, remember, these are just the hedgehogs which people have rescued, it does not take account of the ones killed outright or the others which have crawled away to die a slow and painful death.
The hog on the left has had his wound sewn up by a vet and the one on the bottom has just been admittted with a maggot infested wound caused by a strimmer, he went to the vets after this picture was taken.
Netting: Don’t leave loose netting around on the ground, if it is in use in the garden, pull it taut and leave a gap of about 4” /10cm underneath for hedgehogs. Hedgehogs get caught in all sorts of nets, wire mesh and lobster pots. If you have a tennis or a badminton net, make sure it is lifted off the ground at the end of play.
This hedgehog's leg had been trapped in garden netting, it did heal in the end.