Garden tips: turn the garden into a hedgehog oasis

Gardening tips
Turn the garden into a hedgehog oasis

Hedgehogs love natural gardens.

© supakrit tirayasupasin /

When it gets colder outside, the hedgehogs prepare for their hibernation. How can you support the animals in this?

From mid-October the food supply for hedgehogs will become significantly scarcer. Older animals start building their winter nest, young animals try to gain weight. How can you make the garden the ideal winter shelter for the hedgehogs? And when should you keep your hands off the animals?

Create the ideal winter quarters for hedgehogs

Hedgehogs especially love natural gardens. The animals are most likely to seek refuge for their hibernation in gardens with many natural elements such as hedges, trees, bodies of water, native plants and moss. They prefer to hide under wood, roots or compost heaps. If you want to lure hedgehogs into the garden, can create a hedgehog corner in the garden, according to the Naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU). The hedgehog likes things messy: dead wood, autumn leaves or brushwood should simply be left lying around. Hedgehogs mainly feed on insects that roam the garden.

You can also offer the animals a hedgehog house as winter quarters. The hedgehog can benefit from this all year round, but it should be ready to move in by November at the latest. Hedgehog houses can be found prefabricated in stores, but a self-made wooden hut, an old box or an upturned flower pot do the same. According to the Zurich hedgehog center there is The following requirements for the ideal house: The cavity should therefore be around 30 x 30 x 30 centimeters, the entrance around 10 x 10 centimeters. The house should provide protection against rain and protection against moisture from below. Nesting material such as straw could be helpful. The hedgehog does not care what material the house is made of.

When can you help a hedgehog?

Except for a good shelter and possibly a bowl of water, most hedgehogs do not need any winter help. As tempting as it may seem, hedgehogs shouldn’t be fed, and especially not with milk. The animals cannot tolerate milk, it could even be fatal for them.

So when should you help? When a hedgehog is out and about during the day in permafrost or when there is a blanket of snow, you may be puzzled. Because actually the animals should be in deep hibernation at this time. According to NABU, you should watch the hedgehog for a while without disturbing or touching it. Only injured or sick hedgehogs need help. If the animals lie around during the day, are noticeably lean or behave apathetically, these are the alarm signals. In such a case, the animal should be taken to the vet, animal shelter or hedgehog station.


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