Where have all the hedgehogs gone?

Posted: Monday 15 October 2012
by Adam Pasco

Hedgehogs have always been regular visitors to my garden - I'd spot them meandering across the lawn at twilight - but this year I haven’t seen any.

Hedgehog on a lawn

Hedgehogs have always been regular visitors to my garden in the past, but not this year. They’ve never been residents, but I’d see them wandering up and down the road when walking the dog on summer evenings, and hear them scuffling through the back of borders when gardening outside late in the evening. Sometimes I’d spot them meandering across the lawn at twilight, much to the dismay of our dog who would bark from a distance, but rarely risk going too close.

But this year I haven’t seen any. Neither have I noticed many frogs or toads. These usually make their way into my garden from a neighbouring one with a large pond, where I’m sure they breed. Despite the months of rain from April onwards, and a generous supply of slugs to feed on, I’ve hardly noticed a single one. Perhaps the hedgehogs and frogs have more food than they know what to do with closer to home, so haven’t needed to forage further afield. Or perhaps the snow and cold last winter caused a decline in numbers. I wonder if other gardeners have found the same thing, or is it just me?

I do miss them, which is more than I can say for the ever-increasing numbers of woodpigeons, which leave quite a mess on the lawn, and the squirrels that regularly raid my bird feeders.

Just in case I haven’t been vigilant enough, and my missing friends are still around, I’m currently building piles of sticks and leaves at the back of borders for them to use for winter shelter. These aren’t anything complex, just welcoming homes made from natural materials.

And, as always, as Halloween and Guy Fawkes’ Night draw close, anyone planning to have a bonfire should always restack the heap on the day of the bonfire on a fresh site to ensure no wildlife has crawled in and taken up residence. I prefer composting to burning, so my carefully positioned piles of garden prunings can be left undisturbed. They’re all quite discreet, so I just hope they prove attractive to my elusive friends.

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Talkback: Where have all the hedgehogs gone?
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oldchippy 15/10/2012 at 16:45

Hello Adam,I haven't seen a hedgehog for years just an increase in wood pigeons crows and foxes.


Adam Pasco 15/10/2012 at 20:44

Oh yes, foxes. They're cunning creatures, and have infiltrated most areas I think. I haven't spotted them in my garden, but my neighbour has had their chickens slaughtered twice now. Senseless killings – more for play than food.

But there must be some hedgehogs around, surely?

Supernoodle 15/10/2012 at 20:51

There's a family living at the bottom of my garden. At least that's what my neighbour says - I haven't seen them.
Saw one on the pavement the other day - really weird - looked perfect but was dead.

Dovefromabove 15/10/2012 at 21:26

We've got hedgehogs visiting our garden every evening.  When we had new fencing put up we got the builder to cut little archways in the fences so they can travel from garden to garden.  We put food out for them, hedgehog biscuits, crumbled up peanuts, meal worms and a small amount of banana chips.  Also a bowl of fresh rainwater from the water butt every evening.  It's always all gone in the morning.  We also have a bought hedgehog house and two homemade ones - we've left piles of hay and leaves etc around and the hedgehogs are collecting them and making warm nests in the hedgehog houses 

We;ve had no bother from slugs in the garden this year 

Adam Pasco 15/10/2012 at 21:31

How sad, Supernoodle. I wonder what had happened to it?

And great to hear you have a content family of hedgehogs in your garden, Dovefromabove (I wonder where that name came from). Count yourself incredibly lucky that you've had no bother from slugs this year. My garden is breeding giant mutants!

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