Hedgehogs are found throughout most of the UK. Gardens, hedgerows, woodlands, grasslands, parks, and cemeteries are all important hedgehog habitats, and adult hedgehogs travel up to a square mile per night over home ranges between 10-20 hectares searching for food and mates – that’s entire housing estates and neighbourhoods!
With dwindling daylight and limited food sources now setting in, hedgehogs are at a crucial stage of the year where they need to build up their weight to around 600g to stand any chance of surviving through winter hibernation. Hoglets born late in the year probably won’t survive now unless they are lucky enough to be found and taken to one of the few hedgehog sanctuaries we have in north Wales.
You can take very simple steps to improve their chances for survival by increasing access to and from your garden – making holes in fences or remove single bricks in walls to allow free movement, for example. (Use your removed bricks to create a little tunnel that will keep the cats out!) You can also put out nuts, fruit, mealworms or dried cat food, but please don’t be tempted to give them milk – they cannot digest lactose.
Finally, don’t be too tidy! Try to leave some form of shelter that is dry and safe so they can rest or take cover – and be very careful indeed if making bonfires …