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Wild Bunch column – be hedgehog aware this May

Hello from the Wild Bunch. Hedgehog Awareness Week runs 5th to 11th May, so this column is all about how we can help our declining hedgehog population overcome some of the difficulties it faces. Our hedgehogs don’t need much to survive. Here are some small things that could make a big difference:


Adult hedgehogs can travel between 1-2 km a night looking for food. Earthworms, beetles and caterpillars make up most of their diet. Making sure that there are gaps in fences for them to get through will help them in their search for food. If you have a garden, leaving part of it with a pile leave or logs for the hedgehogs to snuffle around to find food is a great help.

You can also provide a feeding station with hedgehog food and water, but please do NOT feed them bread or milk, as they are lactose intolerant and this could make them very ill.

They love meaty pet food or kibble, it doesn’t have to be special hedgehog food at all. If you are worried about rats, don’t put grain-based food out and take in any excess in the morning.


During this time of year hedgehogs will be out and about looking for a mate and you may see them circling each other and hear them making huffing sounds, snorts and grunts, in the evening. This huffing and circling is all part of their mating ritual, they are not fighting!

Hoglets start to be born from May and litters of up to five can begin to leave the nest at about four weeks old, so look out for baby hogs! Some mother hedgehogs do go out during the day to get a break from their babies.


Hedgehogs can swim, but if they fall into a pond they can struggle to get out and may drown, so making a ramp or a shallow area can really help save them. Some chicken wire wrapped round some wood could work. Check drains are properly covered too and no litter is likely to cause them harm. Hedgehogs can get tangled up in garden netting that they cannot get out of.

Pesticides and slug pellets can poison hogs, who are nature’s very own ‘pest’ control.

Check carefully before mowing long grass or strimming, and if you are having a bonfire, consider building it on the day so that you know that there are no hedgehogs nesting under it.

Finding a hedgehog

If you find a ‘hog out in the daytime or one you think is sick or injured use gardening gloves or a towel to pick it up and place it in a box, gently cover it with an old towel or fleece and offer it some meaty cat or dog food and some water. Once you have the hedgehog somewhere quiet and safe, contact your local rescue centre or The British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) on: 01584 890 801

Prickles Hedgehog Rescue, Cheddar

T: 07806 744772

There is more information about hedgehogs and also plans and ideas for making your own hedgehog feeding station or nesting box at britishhedgehogs.org.uk and hedgehogstreet.org

If you would like to join the Wild Bunch to share other ways to encourage wildlife in gardens and local open spaces, receive the newsletter, or suggest topics for the monthly gatherings, email fromewildbunch@gmail.com. Our next gathering is 1.30pm on 16th May, and some Wild Bunchers will be opening our gardens and showing you round. Please visit https://www.frometowncouncil.gov.uk/our-community/community/wild-bunch or the Frome Wild Bunch Facebook page for more details.  

7 May 2024
Last Updated
1 May 2024
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