Making your garden safe

Making your garden safe

First of all, do not be tempted to keep a wild hedgehog in an enclosed garden. Although it may seem like there is a lot of food available, they will soon finish this off and may starve. More importantly, they are wild animals and used to wandering several miles in one night. Confining healthy adult hedgehogs can cause unnecessary suffering. Never take a healthy hedgehog from the wild – it may be a mother with a litter of babies waiting for her return. Without their mother the hoglets will die. Sometimes people move a hedgehog from their front to their back garden, where it is thought to be safer, but again this could mean that any hoglets may starve. By being aware of some of the dangers hedgehogs may face in your garden, you can try to minimise those dangers by taking a few simple precautions.


Bonfires – check piles of rubbish just before setting light to them

Pampas Grass – a favourite spot for them to make their nests. Some gardeners burn or strim their pampas grass. Please check carefully to be absolutely sure there is no hedgehog asleep inside.

Netting – keep netting about 9 – 12 inches above the ground, this includes pea netting, tennis nets (in schools – cricket, hockey and football nets). The hedgehog can then go under the net and not push its way through and become entangled.

Barbed wire – should also be kept off the ground and not left trailing nor discarded on the ground.

Ponds – ensure there is an escape route for anything falling into the pond. A sloping ramp of green plastic coated wire netting going down into the water will do.  Try to keep the pond topped up so these escape routes can be reached and any thirsty hedgehogs are less likely to topple in. In wet weather anything which collects water can become dangerous eg children’s paddling pools, sandpits, buckets and flower pots. Can you prevent them falling into your swimming pool as well?

Holes – cover any drain holes and provide escape routes from deep holes, like bean trenches, car inspection pits, newly dug but still empty ponds, fence post holes, foundation holes etc.

Tidying – check there are no hedgehogs under piles of rubbish you are clearing, sheds you are moving, grass you are strimming (we see horrific injuries!) and inside open bags of compost, peat etc., before you start work. Check compost heaps before you push a fork into them. Check sheds, garages, greenhouses etc. normally left open at night, before you permanently close their doors (eg to go on holiday).

Rubbish – keep bags of rubbish out of reach, so a hedgehog does not get into it and perhaps get put out for the bin men! Make sure your rubbish is disposed of safely, hedgehogs get caught in twine, four ring can holders, plastic yogurt cartons and even narrow necked bottles.

Dogs – keep an eye on your dog when he is let out at night, particularly if you suspect he may attack a hedgehog and you think hedgehogs are about.

Poisons – when using and storing any chemicals and slug pullets, make sure that you do not poison any hedgehogs or indeed any other wildlife or pets. Children may also be at risk. See if you can find an alternative which is safer.  Use environmentally safe preservatives on sheds, fences etc as hedgehogs often lick new smells of substances.