Did you know that hedgehogs are an essential part of your garden’s ecosystem? They are known as the ‘gardener’s friend’ because their diet consists of so many pests. Hedgehog houses are easy additions to your garden, and they help to provide a safe retreat from predators such as badgers, foxes, stoats, and even cats and dogs.
They are most active at night after heavy rainfall when they eat slugs, snails, beetles and earthworms. Hedgehogs in the UK hibernate throughout winter. They feed as much as possible during the autumn, so you may seem them more active then. During hibernation, a hedgehog’s body temperature and heartbeat fall dramatically, from 190 to about 20 beats per minute. Make sure you’re providing a safe place for these little beasts to rest during the winter months.
Give hedgehogs a safe retreat and they will keep the slugs in your garden under control. They can eat 80 slugs in one night! Hedgehog numbers are declining due to habitat loss, early sharp frosts and modern-day hazards such as garden ponds and swimming pools. Do your local hedgehogs a favour with one of our hedgehog houses.
The hedgehog is so-called because it roots through hedges and other undergrowth in search of slugs, snails, insects, worms, centipedes etc and makes a pig-like grunts.
The hedgehog is a nocturnal mammal. It comes out at night and spends the day sleeping in a nest.
What Do Hedgehogs Eat?
The diet of a hedgehog has claimed it the reputation as being the ‘gardener’s friend’ as it includes so many ‘pests’. Hedgehogs are most active on nights after heavy rainfall when they eat slugs, snails, beetles and earthworms.
When hunting hedgehogs rely mostly on hearing and smell because they have very weak eyesight. Their long snout helps them forage for food.
How Can I Protect Hedgehogs From Predators?
Hedgehog predators include badgers, foxes, pine martins and stoats. Cats and dogs are sources of harassment. A hedgehog house can provide a safe retreat. Our hedgehog habitats and hedgehog feeding stations help to attract hedgehogs to your garden.
Hedgehog Top Facts
Their coats have about 5000 spines. Each spine lasts about a year then drops out and a replacement grows.
The spines are hollow and springy with a flexible neck and they are erected by muscles. At the base there is a smooth ball which bends on impact.
Hedgehog fleas are specific to hedgehogs and rarely bite humans.
Hedgehogs only pair up only to mate. When they mate they often make loud snuffling noises. The male circles the female, sometimes for hours, to persuade her to mate. They will separate thereafter and the male takes no part in rearing the family.
Hedgehog young only stay with their mother for four to seven weeks. After about 4 weeks, the mother will take the young on their first foraging trip and after 10 days the young are able to hunt for themselves and the family will separate.
Hedgehogs are born blind after 32 days and their spines are soft. However a late litter born in September seldom survive their first winter.
Hedgehogs in the UK hibernate throughout winter. They feed as much as possible during the autumn and in around October.
During hibernation a hedgehog’s body temperature and heart beat fall dramatically, from 190 to about 20 beats per minute.
Signs that you’ve had a hedgehog visit include trails in the dew of long grass, forage burrows in soft earth and the presence of their black slug-shaped droppings in the grass.