How to link your garden with a hedgehog highway

Hedgehogs face challenges in finding suitable habitats, let's help them by creating a hedgehog highway!

26th June 2024

With so many landscapes changing and habitats being destroyed, we have the power to make a difference and provide sanctuary for so many species that may visit our gardens. One of the animals that could benefit from our spaces is the hedgehog. 

These humble creatures are important for conserving biodiversity, as they help maintain the balance of ecosystems we might often overlook. It’s no shock that hedgehogs face challenges in finding suitable habitats, but we can help them by creating a hedgehog highway!

What is a hedgehog highway? 

Hedgehogs are known to travel between one and two kilometres a night, a task made difficult by manmade barriers. A network of interconnected spaces would allow hedgehogs to roam freely in search of food, mates, and shelter. These passages, often just gaps under boundary fences or holes in a wall, provide safe routes for them to travel along. 

By creating our own hedgehog hole, we can contribute to the highway and help the species thrive. 

How to create your hedgehog hole

Here’s how you can help hedgehogs pass freely through your garden: 

Assess your space

Before starting on your highway addition, assess your garden’s layout to pick the perfect spot for the entry point. You could use any existing gaps or holes to help hedgehogs walk through your garden. These can then be modified as needed, to make sure our spikey friends can fit through! 

Creating access points

Once you’ve found your perfect spot, it’s time to get building. Here are some ideas about how to create the perfect path:

  • Remove a brick (or two) from your wall, if it’s safe to do so.
  • Cut a small hole in your fence where needed.
  • Dig a channel under your wall, fence, or gate.
  • Use spare materials like piping, bricks, or wood to create a tunnel. 

Remember: These openings should be at least 13x13cm wide to ensure a hedgehog can fit through! This should also be too small for any pets. 

an illustrative guide on how to make a hedgehog highway

Eliminate any hazards

If you provide hedgehogs with safe passage through your chosen access point(s), it’s important to ensure your garden safe for them to explore, too! Uncovered drains, tall trenches, or ponds without escape routes can be very dangerous to hedgehogs.

Make sure you avoid using slug pellets or other toxic substances when inviting these critters into your garden. Try opting for hedgehog-friendly alternatives, if possible. 

Remember: Hedgehogs will eat a lot of “garden pests” like slugs! 

Provide shelter and food

To help encourage hedgehogs into your garden, offer them shelter – along with a steady supply of food and water. You could create hedgehog houses using natural materials like logs, leaves, and sticks. They might even start using it as a safe space to hibernate during the colder months. 

Leave out shallow dishes of fresh water and hedgehog-friendly food, like wet cat food or crushed dog biscuits, near the shelter so they can find it easily. 

Talk to your neighbours

To make sure hedgehogs in your area can travel safely, you should speak to your neighbours about the importance of hedgehog highways and connecting habitats. You could share information through social media pages, local newsletters, shop notice boards, or community events to inspire others to do the same. 

Let's work together to provide hedgehogs with a safe passage and shelter, so they can continue to thrive for generations to come. 

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