Since the millennium, we've lost a third of the urban hedgehog population (and half of the rural population). Here are a few simple actions you can take in a bid to reverse this:

Cut a 'hedgehog hole' in your fence

Solid fences without any gaps are becoming increasingly popular and whilst they're great for naked sunbathing, they don't allow for garden-to-garden hedgehog travel. Hedgehogs don't stick to just one garden - they roam 2km per night on average in search of food! If they can't get through or under fences, they have to venture into the road to get into new gardens, increasing their risk of being hit by a car.

All you need to do is cut a 13cm x 13cm hole in your fence. Better yet, inspire your neighbours to do the same and create a 'hedgehog highway' through your gardens!

Provide shelter

Tidier gardening means there are fewer log piles, fewer rock piles and less old plant material for hedgehogs to hibernate in over winter and nest in during spring. You can help by buying or making a hedgehog house (see www.wildlifetrusts.org/actions/how-build-hedgehog-home) out of untreated wood (treated is harmful). Even better, create a log pile - it'll provide shelter for hedgehogs AND attract insects for them to gobble up.

Avoid using slug pellets

Slug eats pellet - hedgehog eats multiple slugs - hedgehog is poisoned.

Eco-friendly alternatives are available, but slugs are one of the hedgehog's main food sources, so why get rid of them at all?! Let the slimy creatures be, and the spiny ones will soon follow.

Bugs, bugs, bugs!

41% of insects are threatened with extinction. This leaves hedgehogs with much less to eat.

Attract insects by:

- Planting more native wildflowers. This attracts more native insects.
- Creating shelter: log piles, rock piles, leaving dead plant material in situ.
- Don't use chemicals - this is one of the most significant causes of insect decline. See www.avonwildlifetrust.org.uk/action-for-insects for eco-friendly alternative practices!

So give these a go, encourage your friends and neighbours to do the same and let's see if we can get hedgehog numbers climbing again.

Image by Alexas_Fotos via Pixabay