How do you know if hedgehogs are visiting your garden?
How do you know if it is a hedgehog visiting your garden and not the neighbourhood cat or rat? Read on for my top tips on how to find out.
Buy a night camera
The best way to find out is to buy a night camera. It might surprise you what you’ll find in the night garden. I even managed to reunite a lost cat missing from its home over a mile away with its owner when I recognised it on my night camera!
Create a hedgehog highway
If you don’t yet have a night camera, check that hedgehogs can actually get into your garden. If you don’t have a hedgehog hole, it is unlikely you have a hedgehog – although they have been known to climb up ivy and over walls…
Check on the Big Hedgehog Map
This searchable map – the Big Hedgehog Map – is open to everyone to log their hog highway and hedgehogs spotted – whether dead or alive. Whilst it isn’t completely comprehensive (it relies on people in your area having taken these actions) it does give you a good sense of whether hedgehogs are nearby. Once you have worked out if you have a hedgehog visitor, don’t forget to come back to log your hog!
Look for hedgehog poo
Hedgehogs are nocturnal and, unless you sit out very quietly for hours on end at night, you are more likely to see their poo than the prickly visitors themselves.
Create a hedgehog feeding station
If you were a hedgehog would you want to visit your garden? Is there a good supply of natural food – particularly beetles? Do you leave out food, water and shelter? It is surprising how many people find they have a hedgehog visitor when they start to regularly leave out food and water.
Create a hedgehog footprint trap
If you have already created a feeding station but don’t have a night camera and want to know if it is a hedgehog and not a hungry cat visiting, follow my tips for setting up a hedgehog footprint trap to identify who is calling.
You can also see what is left in the bowl of food. Hedgehogs will tend to leave bits of chobbled cat biscuit, whereas cats lick the bowl completely clean.
Hopefully once you have done all of these things you will find that you do indeed have a spiky visitor. Time to invest in the night camera so you can watch their antics!
I run a hedgehog rescue and wildlife garden in York. Like all wildlife rescues my work is entirely self funded. If you have found this information useful, there are lots of ways to support my work. You can also check out my nature jewellery in my online shop.
Please do share any news of your prickly visitors…..