We're really lucky here in Milton Keynes as you can find Hedgehogs throughout the city. Here as well as around the UK Hedgehogs live in a variety of habitats such as woodland, gardens, farmland and grassland.
As their name suggests, they love hedges as they provide shelter. At home you may find hedgehogs living in your garden hedge or hiding in long grass or in the Autumn/ Winter months they could even be hibernating under a pile of logs or leaves so be careful not to disturb them!
Hedgehogs are nocturnal mammals, coming out at night to feed. They are active between March and October each year, hibernating during the chilly winter months. Warmer winter weather can wake hedgehogs up out of hibernation, so be sure to give them some food if you
catch them out and about over winter. Keep reading for hog-friendly suggestions!
But Hedgehogs need our help, since 2002 as much as 30% of the UK hedgehog population has been lost. Changes to farmland has reduced their habitats and left them without much to eat. Hedgehogs have had to move into the cities and towns, making urban gardens and parks their new homes.
The parks in Milton Keynes appear to support a good population of hedgehogs, but The Parks Trust is working to improve the habitat for hogs in the wider landscape. Take a look below for ways you can help Hedgehogs at home.
How to make your garden hog-friendly
- Create Hedgehog highways - Cutting a 13cm x 13cm hole in your fence or digging a channel underneath will allow hedgehogs to move between gardens.
- Avoid the use of pesticides - Slug pellets and pesticides are toxic for Hedgehogs. Hedgehogs provide their own form of pest control by eating lots of unwanted insects, so encourage
them into your garden instead.
- Make water safe - Hedgehogs can swim well but struggle to get out of steep-sided ponds, so
provide a ramp or create shallow areas for them to climb out.
- Provide nesting sites - Keep your garden a bit scruffy around the edges to allow for hedgehogs to nest and hibernate in piles of leaves, logs and long grass.
- Help the hogs stay safe - Check for hedgehogs before lighting bonfires, or cutting long grass. Keep garden netting and household rubbish above ground level to prevent the hogs getting trapped.
- During the cold or dry weather, hedgehogs benefit from having a bit of extra food as the minibeasts they rely on become scarce. You can feed them a diet of meat-based wet dog or cat foods, or specially made hedgehog food. You could also provide a shallow dish of water. for drinking Milk is NOT suitable for hedgehogs as they are allergic to milk.
The Trust works with local schools and community groups to carry out hedgehog surveys to help understand where hedgehogs are doing well so that numbers can be protected. Why not get involved in the MKHogWatch