One in a million: The hedgehog in my garden!

On July 31st at 11pm, only weeks after our dog died, I first sighted the hedgehog in the rockery and took a close-up photograph with my mobile.
A hedgehog curling up into a ball in a garden

David Merry

After taking this snap, the hedgehog quickly ran off with a startling turn of speed into the dense ivy on the border of our small urban patio garden. Since then I’ve watched the hedgehog with my partner from behind the patio doors on his or her nightly visits.

This is a wild animal living in an urban space with all the dangers that entails and is now part of the life in our garden. I’ve learnt from recent survey reports which suggest that hedgehog numbers are in steep decline, and found that today there could be only a million hedgehogs in the UK.  Alarmingly, they seem to be declining at the same speed as tigers globally.

We decided to feed to hedgehog, but ruled out using cat meat because we also have a wide range of birds in the garden, and didn’t want to create a problem with cats out for an evening snack. So we purchased hedgehog food from the Hedgehog Society and to our great pleasure the hedgehog would dine at a regular time each night, and what a noise he made! We also put out some water as this is just as important as food.

We purcashed from the Hedgehog Society a hedgehog house, or 'hibernaculum', hoping against hope that Hedges (as we named him) would move in for a ‘winter slumber’ (hibernation).

We were a little concerned when we had not seen the hedgehog for a long period and saw palm leaves pulled into the box. To allay our fears about what might be in the box, a friend loaned us his trail camera to solve the mystery and, oh joy (you would have thought we had won the rollover!) when we saw the videos of the hedgehog entering and leaving his winter pad.

Do you want to help the hedgehogs in your garden? All they need is food, shelter and the opportunity to roam. Click one of the links below for more advice and tips, and give hedgehogs a fighting chance where you live.