Protect our prickly friends.

Protect our prickly friends.

Here at Kings Garden and Leisure, we love hedgehogs and to celebrate Hedgehog Awareness Week (30th April to the 6th May) we thought we would take a look at what makes this prickly beings so special and what we can do to help the population of hogs increase.

Known for their nocturnal lifestyle and allusive nature, hedgehogs are one of the most loved species in the UK. With over 5000 prickly spines, if a hedgehog feels threatened it will raise them to warn off a threat.

They are not the best at seeing, but what they lack in that department they make up for in hearing and smell with their mighty snouts able to sniff out soil invertebrates like beetles, worms, snails and slugs. Something that we recently found out and didn’t realise before, is that hedgehogs are really good at climbing, swimming and running too – some will travel up to two miles a night foraging.

All these things are wicked, but not what makes hedgehogs super special or important. These prickly insectivores are known as indicator species in the and this is because they work hard to control insect population, feeding on soil invertebrates like beetles, worms and caterpillars. The work that they do helps to keep gardens healthy and a decline in hedgehogs indicates a decline in environmental quality.

We used to see lots of hedgehogs, once a frequent garden visitor but they have certainly become rarer. In The State of Britain’s Hedgehog Report 2022 by The British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) and The People’s Trust For Endangered Species (PTES) it reveals that the population has declined by 30% - 75% across different areas of the UK countryside since 2000 however some good news is that in urban hedgehogs are showing signs of recovery although they are still on the vulnerable to extinction in Britain’s Red List for Mammals.

The rural hedgehog decline has been attributed to things like the use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers for farming, a lack of wildlife corridors for them to move around safely and less hedgerows leading to poor habitats.

Whilst urban issues are things like reduction in biodiverse green spaces, encounters with lawnmowers, strimmers and bonfires as well as the use of pesticides that can limit food supply.

We can help…

All is not lost, we can make our gardens a hog- heaven and play our part in protecting these prickly pals from extinction. Here are some top tips:

Give the hedgehog a home.

How cool would it be to see a littler of hoglets in your garden. If you create a cosy,

Hedgehog House

safe shelter it will encourage hedgehogs to relax, raise their babies and hibernate in your garden. They love deadwood and fallen leaves and we also stock wicked houses in both our Exmouth and Sidmouth stores. This one even has an extension for when the family gets bigger!

Create a hedgehog highway.

If you have solid fences, cut a little hole (13cm square should do it) so that the hedgehogs can pass through gardens safely, or if you have solid brick, create a space under the gate, making it easier and safer for the hogs to forage across gardens. And once you have made your highway, register it here to become part of the national network for hedgehogs.

Reduce the hazards.

Hedgehogs love to hang around in the undergrowth, but this does mean that mowing the lawn and burning garden rubbish can be a hog hazard. Ways to avoid any mishaps include moving piles to a different space before burning, inspecting soil heaps before going in with a fork and checking carefully before getting the mower or strimmer out.

Say no to slug pellets.

The hogs are your natural slug killer as they love slugs, snails and other unwanted pests from the veg patch. And using coffee grounds, egg shells and squashed garlic is a more natural slug deterrent that wont harm a hedgehog if they eat it.   

Create a hog-staurant.

Having a feeding station in your garden offering water and food for hedgehogs in

Hedgehog Food by Kings Garden and Leisurea feeding station will help keep the food safe and also encourage them to return to your garden
more often. We sell special hedgehog food in both Kings Exmouth and Kings Sidmouth


So, there you have it, our top tips to encourage hedgehogs into your garden and help the population of urban and rural hedgehogs to grow again. And if you want more advice, please pop into Kings Garden and Leisure Exmouth or Sidmouth and speak to one of our garden specialists. 



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