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Home Is… Where the Hedgehogs Are!

Fri 4 October 2019

It’s a busy time of year now for my family of hedgehogs who for the last 4 years have taken up permanent residence in the garden.

I remember the first night I moved in to my new house, late April, a lovely bright starry night, sat on a deckchair in the garden, exhausted, staring back through the Conservatory window at the pile of boxes still to be unpacked and then…

A rustling and a snuffling and I looked down and there by my feet was a hedgehog! It seemed completely unaware of my presence, after a while it scuttled off to the pond, had a long drink and then disappeared into the side hedge. I went back into the house, found some cat food and biscuits and put out a bowl. Within 10 minutes there were three hedgehogs all busy munching away. It was a lovely welcome to my new home.

So I bought them their new home, a state of the art Hedgehog House! At this time of year I make sure there are plenty of dry leaves and straw by the entrance which each night they drag in ready for their hibernation. Luckily this autumn has seen an abundance of berries (they love wild strawberries), apples and slugs for them to feed on, in addition to the food I put out for them.

I know it will be a matter of weeks if not days before they disappear into their cosy home to sleep out the winter and I can’t help feeling a bit sad. I miss them during the winter months, but there is something very satisfying knowing they are safe and sound in a corner of my garden. So home for me really is where the hedgehogs are.

And now for the serious bit...

Hedgehogs really are under threat, their population in Shropshire alone has dropped by over 75% in the last 50 years. Hedgehogs are every gardeners friend, eating up all the slugs which otherwise will devastate your hostas! It is easy to make a difference for these delightful creatures, make a hedgehog sized hole in your garden fence to allow them to travel between gardens and forage. Put out a bowl of water and feed them meat based cat food & finally remember if you have a pond, ensure there are ways for an inexperienced little hoglet to climb out if it accidentally falls in.

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