Helping hedgehogs

Homes for hedgehogs

“I want a garden hedgehog!” If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard that, I would be a rich woman!

I look for suitable hedgehog release sites for hedgehogs that have spent time being rehabilitated in the hedgehog hospital. I want the best of the best for these hedgehogs and below are my minimum requirements that all new hedgehog release sites must meet. I ideally seek homes within 10 miles of York but other hedgehog rescues will have similar criteria.

Please note that normally a hedgehog will return to where it was found following its rehabilitation. This is not always possible though in every case, for example where the finder has not provided details of the location.

1.. You must already have hedgehogs regularly visiting your garden. This is the only way to know that the habitat is suitable and that the hedgehogs will find a mate. You can’t just release one or two hedgehogs and hope they will colonize an area. If hedgehogs aren’t in the area, sadly, there is a reason…..

2. You must be well away from busy main roads – hazardous to hedgehogs.

3. You and your neighbours must not use slug pellets, pesticides or herbicides – all of these can cause poisoning and death. You must also avoid use of garden netting, check carefully before strimming and forking (and ideally not strim your garden at all)

4. Your garden must be linked to at least 10 large gardens via hedgehog holes/hedges/open fencing. The ideal garden will offer plenty of ground cover for foraging and nest sites.

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The perfect garden will offer wild areas for foraging and shelter

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The best release sites will be packed with native plants to attract insects – beetles and caterpillars are the top two foods for hedgehogs

5. You must provide a suitable escape route from any ponds.

6. You must provide some form of shelter. This can be anything from a homemade house  under a log pile, to a specially purchased hedgehog box. This will give your new resident a helping hand to set up home.

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A hedgehog house made under our log store from bricks, twigs and leaves. It provides great shelter from the elements and also a home for insects.

7. You must leave food and water out daily for at least the first month and ideally forever. For advice about what to feed wild hedgehogs, please read my blog

8. Not near badger sites. Badgers will predate hedgehogs where they live in close proximity.

If you didn’t get past the first essential requirement, many people find that if they leave food and water out regularly, they discover they do have hedgehog visitors! Here’s how to find out if you have a hedgehog visiting your garden.

I don’t tend to soft-release hedgehogs in an outdoor enclosure but I do make sure they are used to the outdoor temperatures by acclimatising them in an outdoor hutch or unheated building, such as a shed.

I release all year except in Winter when the night time temperatures are over 5 degrees at night for at least the next seven days. You can read further advice about releasing rehabilitated wild hedgehogs here.

My work rehabilitating hedgehogs is entirely self funded. I raise funds for medicines, food and equipment by making silver jewellery inspired by nature – great ethical gifts! You can also support my work in other ways here.

Silver wildlife jewellery
Silver wildlife jewellery

19 thoughts on “Homes for hedgehogs”

  1. One eyed hedgehogs can survive in the wild but it is best for them to have food and water left out for them. Is there anyone who lives near the park where you could release it with regular food and water?

  2. I found a hedgehog in the park where it was flooded this winter,it has only one eye as I think something had got to him.i have fed him up in last 10 weeks and plan letting him/her go.the park near me is only small but this is where I found it. I live in Leeds and can put in woods will it be okay with one eye or should I put back in park,he is quite healthy and getting bigger.

  3. Hello
    I am contacting you on behalf of White Rose Club Limited.
    At a recent meeting our committee decided to explore the possibility of becoming a location for the re-homing of rescued hedgehogs.
    White Rose Club is a members’ naturist club 7 miles to the north east of York. We have an 11 acre low density caravan site which retains 2 substantial wooded areas and a paddock. Whilst individual pitches are well manicured they are separated by low intervention shrubbery and there is mixed species screen hedge within a ‘leaky’ perimeter chain-link fence. The site is surrounded by farm land and is well away from roads (although we are adjacent to a railway line). We do not permit dogs on our premises but we are visited by the occasional farm cat.
    If you feel that our site might be suitable to re-home some hedgehogs, I would be pleased to discuss matters further and arrange a site inspection.

  4. Hi emma
    I am very interested in helping hedgehogs . I recently found a 3 week hoglet and although I took him to a rescue centre , he died . Would I be able to help at all , fostering , rehoming , care for the babies whilst they get stronger ? I live in Warter – up on the wolds , so no busy roads . I have a large garden , spare room and outdoor waterproof sheds . Let me know , Debbie

  5. Hi! Lovely article. If you still need homes for hedgehogs, we fit the bill. We live on the edge of a village away from main roads. Lots of access to other gardens, especially our neighbours who have a hedgehog house already in their garden and have rescued a few hedgehogs over the years. We’ve been here for over 15 years and have always had hedgehogs in the gardens – huge ones. Last year one of the hedgehogs had babies 🙂 We live in Tollerton, York, North Yorkshire – email ajhhrh@hotmail.co.uk Large gardens, lots to eat – we grow our own veg and so do the neighbours, no pesticides used, lots of slugs!

  6. I have just less than an acre of land away from any roads which is just left for wildlife. Not sure if hedgehogs are already living there or not but you are welcome to release there if it is suitable? In sheriff hutton

  7. Please get in touch with me, I have a huge garden, small private wood surrounded by farmland, no road too near and have been wanting to do something like this since moving here 5 years ago. My name is Gill Hudson. I’m in Cawood Nr Selby and my contact numbers are Home 01757268002 (please try this first as mobile signal can be unreliable) Mobile 07803122764 Email beanie77@hotmail.co.uk I really hope we can work together Kind Regards Gill Hudson

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