Hedgehogs have always been a much-loved feature of the British countryside and are known as the gardener's friend due to their appetite for slugs and snails and other garden pests. However, hedgehogs are in need of help and are now even classed as an endangered species in Britain.
Road casualties and loss of habitat are the main causes of a decline in the U.K. hedgehog population. Changes in farming and land management have led to fewer places for hedgehogs to live and forage in the countryside and this, added to a loss of gardens to forage in as people turn them into car parking spaces or decking-covered patios plus the carving up of territory by new roads and bye-passes all mean less room for our spiny friends.
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The hedgehog in...... Winter
Many hogs are already in hibernation but it is not unusual for hogs to still be awake at the end of the year and even later if it is really mild. It is a myth that hedgehogs must hibernate and in a warm winter where they have put on weight during the autumn and have a good food and water supply, some hogs may barely hibernate at all so please carry on putting out food and water "just in case".
A hedgehog feeder is ideal for this, as it will give some protection from the elements to both the food and the hog itself when feeding. We can supply purpose built hog feeding stations but a paving slab placed on 4 bricks or two concrete blocks will do. Please make sure if the weather gets cold that there is a supply of de-iced water available at all times. Even if the hogs are asleep and don't need it, many other forms of wildlife will!
While all of us at 3H have hog houses in our gardens, it is very rare for a hedgehog to hibernate in them, preferring to make their own nest wherever possible. However, these are not always terribly robust affairs so if you have a hedgehog hibernating in your garden and its nest is damaged by bad weather, it is absolutely fine to gently pick it up and transfer it to a hog box either in the garden or in a shed or outbuilding. Just make sure there is food and water available for it when it wakes up and be prepared to leave a door open to the outside world so it can leave when it is ready.