How to protect hedgehogs this hibernation season

As the city's hedgehog's prepare for hibernation, how do you protect them?

As the city's hedgehogs prepare for hibernation, how can we protect them? - Credit: Getty/Andrew Dellbridge

Hedgehogs have been appearing all over the city since the streets fell quiet during lockdown. 

And it's a well-known fact that the spikey critters have been thriving ever since. 

But now they are preparing for hibernation. 

So how can city folk help protect their nocturnal neighbours this winter?

Wildlife expert, Andrew Dellbridge, said: “People often want to interfere with hedgehogs but it's absolutely best to allow nature to take its course.  

Cookie the five week old hedgehog held by Liz Metcalf at Hallswood Animal Sanctuary, Stratton Strawl

Don't interfere with hedgehogs directly unless absolutely necessary - Credit: Copyright Archant Norfolk.

“However, if you really want to help you can feed hedgehogs with cat food - either dry or wet - and put out water for them.” 

He insisted that people should not use slug pellets as hedgehogs will do the work for you. 

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The Ace pest Control boss explained: "They are excellent pest controllers - they're a gardner's best friend.

“We’ve got to look after them.” 

He added that the mammals need multiple gardens to live in: "They like to move between gardens so one of the best things you can do for them is create a hedgehog-sized hole in your fences.

A hedgehog on a person's arm

You could cut a hedgehog-sized hole in your fence - Credit: PA / Ben Birchall

"And where you can, leave a wild corner in the garden. 

“We should all be encouraging local councils to leave rough areas for wildlife - including hedgehogs. We don’t need to cut everything back, doing that less will mean we have more habitat for the city’s wildlife.” 

People can also make hedgehog houses - but need to be wary of imposters. 

Andrew Dellbridge says that Hedgehogs are gardeners best friend.

Andrew Dellbridge says that Hedgehogs are gardeners best friend. - Credit: Andrew Dellbridge

Andrew explained: “If you live on the outskirts of the city you must ensure your hedgehog houses are badger-proof. They love nothing more than a tasty treat and will feast on the hedgehogs while they sleep. 

“However, what’s even better than a hedgehog house is a wild area: piles of wood, lots of things to be hidden among.” 

A hedgehog 

Hedgehogs will go into hibernation in November - Credit: PA

Due to climate change, winters are taking longer and longer to appear and therefore we can expect to see hedgehogs around the city for a few more weeks, he added. 

Hedgehogs will likely go into hibernation during November, so until then, the city needs to do its bit.  

Will you be doing anything to help the hedgehogs this winter?