PLANTS AND SOIL ARE A MUST!
Hedgehogs main diet is worms, beetles, caterpillars and slugs. They need soil to dig for their food, because that is where most of it lives. They find their food amongst flowers and under bushes. Without these things in your garden, a hedgehog has no natural food.
They also need leaves, moss and twigs or logs to use as a nesting site. Long grass gives them cover and material for their nest. They have three types of nest:
Hibernacula - which is a very thick nest which they build in the winter to hibernate. Under bushes or in hedgerows, amongst brambles or long grass. Lots of leaves, twigs and moss.
Day nest - this they build to sleep during the day in the spring and summer. Leaves, long grass and twigs.
Maternity nests. Females build these when having young. Again they need leaves, moss, twigs and grass.
As mentioned in the book, a good compost heap in the garden is another source of food and a good place to nest.
PAVING YOUR GARDEN OR PUTTING DOWN PLASTIC GRASS IS BAD FOR ALL WILDLIFE AS THEY CANNOT FIND THE FOOD OR SHELTER THEY NEED!
CONNECT YOUR GARDEN WITH OTHERS
Recent research has shown that one of the best ways to help hedgehogs, especially in urban areas, is by putting a 13cm hole in your fence to connect your garden with others in your street. If you can have your neighbours do the same, then this makes a great highway for hedgehogs to go along at night.
Hedgehogs need at least 20 gardens a night to gather enough food (assuming they are wildlife friendly) and can travel over a mile!
BUILD A HEDGEHOG HOUSE
You can buy a ready made house from most garden centres. Or, build one yourself! Here are a couple of links that give you instructions:
It is always best to have a wildlife friendly garden so hedgehogs and other creatures can find their natural food. However, with the hedgehog being a vulnerable species, it is sometimes a good plan to give them a helping hand. They will eat:
Meaty cat food (preferably not fish)
That is it! NO milk or bread or dried mealworms.
Supplement feeding like this is appreciated just as Spring approaches when hedgehogs are just coming out of hibernation and October/November time when they are trying to put on weight to survive hibernation.
One is seen out during the day not moving.
One is seen stumbling or walking around in circles
One is screaming (not mating!)
One has been attacked
One cannot curl up into a ball when approached
One is shaped like a rugby ball rather than a Football when curled up (underweight)
One is covered in ticks, not just the odd one or two
Wearing gloves - pick up the hedgehog and place in a box with holes for ventialtion.
Give the hedgehog some bedding - a towel will be good. They wil want to hide in it.
Do not give it food or water at this stage.
Phone a local wildlife or hedgehog rescue for advice. If the hedgehog is in severe pain or badly injured and you cannot reach a rescue, then take to your local vet who can give pain relief and hydration fluids if needed.
DO NOT keep a wild hedgehog yourself. Often (especialy in the Autumn/Winter) they can be ill with internal parasites and will need medication to make them better.