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For years we had the pleasure of a resident family of hedge hogs. Sadly we havent seen any for the past 2 years or so. I know there is a big decline in the hedge hog population, but our garden is as "hedgehog friendly" as we can posssibly make it. We live alongside a small copse, and have a large hawthorn hedge separating us from the fields at the rear. This is trimmed once a year and the clippings left in situ. to form a welcoming habitat for hedgehogs. A flock of geese live in the field immediately behind us but I can"t see that would affect hedgehogs. Is there anything else I could do to encourage the hedgehogs back?
Hi Ekay, whereabouts are you (rough location)? We moved to this garden 18 months ago and were thrilled to find hedgehog droppings, and then when my daughter was visiting and sitting out on the bench late one evening (smoking ) she was startled by a rustling in the undergrowth and watched a very large hedgehog snuffling about the garden. 'When we had the new fencing installed our builder cut 'hedgehog gates' in the panels to ensure that hedgehogs could roam from garden to garden, and we started putting a dish of dry hedgehog food out in the evenings and were woken in the early ours of summer mornings by the sounds of the dish being pushed around on the terrace. We also make sure there's a dish of rainwater available every evening, as the dried food is quite 'dry'. The dish is usually half empty in the morning. Although we've had to cut back some of the undergrowth and have some trees removed ('orrible conifers that had been topped and lopped badly) we are replanting shrubs etc to provide cover and in the meantime we're leaving messy corners (piles of old runner bean haulms etc) and put three hedgehog houses in quiet corners (one purchased and two home made). We're 99.9% certain that two are currently occupied by hibernating hedgehogs. We are situated near the edge of a 'suburban village' with marshes, woodland and a golf course nearby and I have been surprised at the amount of wildlife we see in the garden.
Perhaps it might be that there's so much 'hedgehog friendly' habitat where you live that they're spoilt for choice - or maybe they're out there and you've just not seen them - yet
There have been several threads about hedgehogs on this board over the past year or so, including threads about rescuing them when they've been too small to hibernate. I suppose that if you're sure you've not got any hedgehogs nearby and the habitat is suitable you could contact one of the rescue centres and offer a home to one or two?
Ekay, I haven't had any hedgehogs here for many years now and I do everything I can to encourage them. I have been told that many areas around where I live have such overly tidy gardens that there is nothing for the hedgehogs. They roam quite far afield so if there are only a couple of suitable gardens it's not enough habitat for them. And whether or not you believe that slug-poisons etc affect the hoggies, there is the fact that getting rid of their food sources doesn't help them one bit.
I did take on some rescue chaps last year and was told that I must at all costs keep them in my (fairly large) garden and feed them. Despite all my best efforts, they went wandering - my neighbour saw one ambling across her patio last summer and another was seen walking along the pavement,. Sadly, one was found squashed on the road. The rescue people said that finding squashed hedgehogs is actually a good indication that you have a population in your area.
It's worth asking about rescues but be prepared for them to decide to set up home elsewhere!
many thanks for the replies. They are very useful. We did have two large hedges removed. One privet and one leylandi,these were replaced by fencing with no acccess, but there is still a large hawthorne hedge between our garden and the fields at the bottom. We do get plenty of wild life in the garden, unfortunately at the moment several rats are paying us a visit and stealing the bird food. They have probably been driven from their habitat, as the pond in the pond in the wood below us has flooded. May try the hedgehog rescue people when spring arrives. Once again thanks for your interest.
We have found our hedgehogs are creatures of habit - if their usual route has been blocked off they might go elsewhere rather than try to find their way in - we just got our builder to make a hole by cutting out a little doorway in the bottom of the fence in the corner where my daughter first saw the hedgehog appear http://www.hedgehogstreet.org/pages/link-your-garden.html