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Image of baby hedgehog
Hedgehogs are in decline, so it’s a treat to see one in the garden. © Gillian Day

A couple of weeks ago I had a surprise visitor. The little spikey creature wondered across the garden at night looking for beetles and slugs and my garden has plenty! I’ve never seen a hedgehog in my garden before but this is right time of year to spot them. Over the past few months hedgehogs have been starting to fatten up for hibernation. They usually hibernate between November until mid-March.

There are a few things you can do to give hedgehogs a hand at this time of year and I’ve started to do some of them already. There’s a pond in my garden so I’ve made a little ramp to make sure it can get out easily if it falls in. I also have parts of the garden that grow a bit ‘wild’ with piles of leaf litter and logs. These will provide an attractive spot to nest as well as food for the insects that they feed on.

As we approach Bonfire Night, it’s important to move any woodpiles that you intend to light immediately before setting them on fire to ensure there isn’t a hedgehog setting up home underneath.

Hedgehogs are in decline in Britain and are listed as “Vulnerable” on Britain’s Red List of mammals so they need all the help they can get. Increasing hedgerows and making gardens more ‘hog friendly’ will help. They also need a connected habitat, so cutting a small gap in your garden fence will allow them to expand their range – this means more food and more chance of finding a mate!

Giving them milk is something to avoid because they are lactose intolerant, but they would be happy enough if you left out some water.

Cumbernauld Living Landscape are working to improve habitats for a range of mammals across the town, including hedgehogs. Have you noticed any hedgehogs in Cumbernauld? We’d love to find out.


Fiona McGrevey