Hedgehogs are good for the garden and unfortunately they are in decline, which is a shame. The Hedgehog has been around on the planet for an estimated 15 million years, so it would be nice if we could help them to stay around a little longer. Probably a loss of habitat is a cause of their decline and certain pesticides and slug pellets are not helping the situation.
If you are keen on preserving these ancient little animals then there are a number of things that you can do to help them.
1. Provide them with a place to live
2. Don’t use slug pellets
3. Don’t keep the garden too neat and tidy
4. Plant shrubs and give them some cover
The hedgehog is a nocturnal animal and covers a lot ground at night but then is faced with the obstacle of gaining access to your garden, people tend to fence themselves in fairly securely these days which will cut off a potential food source (slugs, snails etc.) from their natural predator. It would be nice with a little collusion with very understanding neighbours to have a hedgehog sized hole in fences to allow a valuable asset to the garden to come and go freely.
If you are lucky enough to have a hedgehog visit your garden then why not provide it with an easily constructed home. All you need is to make a box out of some thick exterior plywood approximately 30 centimetres square, then cut a hole 14 centimetres square in one end. Cover the whole lot with plastic sheeting then soil and leaves to make it look more natural. If you put a supply of nesting material near at hand, the prospective hedgehog tenant will drag this in to make itself more at home. Make sure the floor is of soft earth or is lined with leaves or straw to prevent the hedgehogs soft feet from getting damaged.