Small, round, brown and famously covered in spines, the hedgehog is one of the most familiar of Britain's wild mammals.

Hedgehogs are most commonly spotted in parks and gardens, where bushes and hedges provide the perfect day-time getaway, and insect-rich lawns and flowerbeds make excellent feeding grounds at dusk.  Hedgehogs eat all kinds of invertebrates, as well as amphibians, birds eggs and anything else they can catch; they particularly like big, crunchy beetles, earthworms and slugs, making them a gardener's best friend.

Hedgehogs are in trouble

Hedgehogs are disappearing from our countryside as fast as tigers are worldwide

The once common hedgehog is now under threat from development and habitat loss caused by the reduction of hedgerows and increase in intensification of our agricultural landscapes.

In just the last 10 years, hedgehog numbers have fallen by 30%, and there are now thought to be fewer than one million left in the UK.  They are disappearing from our countryside as fast as tigers are worldwide.

Help hedgehogs with Wild About Gardens Week!

In October, 2015 we worked with The RHS and Hedgehog Street for Wild About Gardens Week. For the week we asked people to make 'hedgehog highway' holes in their gardens, build hedgehog homes and take simple actions in their garden to hedgehogs recover. 

You can download our free 'Get creative for hedgehogs' booklet here.

Ways that you can help the hog:

Make your Garden a Wildlife Haven

Hedgehogs particularly like big, crunchy beetles, earthworms and slugs, making them a gardener's best friend

Hedgehogs are found across the UK, absent only from some Scottish islands. Gardens, hedgerows, woodlands, grasslands, parkland and cemeteries are all important hedgehog habitats. Adult hedgehogs travel between 1-2km per night over home ranges between 10-20 hectares in size. In suburban areas, this means they range over entire housing estates and neighbourhoods. 

Combined, our gardens provide a space for wildlife larger than all our National Nature Reserves, so by gardening in a wildlife-friendly way, we can help our spiny companions to find a home and move safely between habitats to find mates and food.

Create hedgehog highways

Hedgehogs need to be able to roam far and wide in search of food, mates and nesting sites. Get together with your neighbours to cut a 13cm2 (5in2) hole in your fence or dig a channel beneath garden boundaries to connect your gardens. You can download advice about how to do this and record your hedgehog hole at

Keep an eye out for neighbours doing work on their gardens, or using fencing contractors - this is the perfect opportunity to get a hedgehog hole put in and influence connectivity.

Provide nesting sites

Log and leaf piles, wilderness areas and purpose-built hedgehog homes make great places for hedgehogs to nest and hibernate.

Fallen leaves also make the perfect nesting material, so make sure you don’t clear all of these away!

Try to pile these in quiet, undisturbed corners of your garden to allow hedgehogs a safe, secure area to breed and hibernate. 

Build a hedgehog home

Offer your local hedgehog a safe place in your garden by building them a home. They are simple and cheap to make! Use Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust's sheet to create your own

Say no to slug pellets

Hedgehogs hoover up over 100 invertebrates, such as snails, slugs and worms every night, so no need to use poisonous slug pellets!

Cover drains and gullies

Hedgehogs have poor eyesight but are quite curious, meaning they fall into holes and get stuck, so make sure you cover up any open drains and gullies. If you have a pond, make sure you provide an access point so that hedgehogs can climb back out - this can be achieved by using a ramp or placing some stones at one end.

Grow a wide variety of plants

Attract plenty of natural hedgehog food by keeping your garden diverse with a wide variety of habitats. Mulch beds with garden compost will encourage plenty of earthworms, woodlice and beetles as it begins to rot down while wood piles encourage a rich feast of earwigs, centipedes and woodlice! Don’t be afraid to let your grass grow a little wild and leave some leaf litter – as both are important homes for the hedgehog’s prey including ground beatles and leatherjackets!

Think about hedgehogs around bonfire time

Every year numbers of hedgehogs die or suffer injuries due to bonfire piles not being not checked before being lit. To help prevent hedgehogs and other wildlife from suffering, it is avidsed by The British Hedgehog Preservation Society to avoid building your bonfire until the day it is going to be lit - this will reduce the chances of hedgehogs taking up residence in the bonfire pile for hiberation. Always make sure you build your bonfire on clearground (not on top of leaf litter) and don't forget to check your bonfire before lighting too!

Set up a feeding station

Set up a feeding station by cutting a clear hole in a plastic storage box and weighing down the lid with bricks: this will stop cats and foxes taking the food. If you are worried about attracting rats, don't put out grain-based foods on the floor and take in any excess food when your hedgehog has been for a visit.

What do I do if I find a sick or injured hedgehog?

If you’re concerned about underweight hedgehogs or hedgehogs active in winter, provide tinned cat or dog meat and fresh water. Contact your local rescue centre for advice before intervening.

The British Hedgehog Preservation Society can offer advice and help you find a rescue centre near you. Visit their website here or email them on

How can I help to involve others?

Do you want to get others excited about hedgehogs? That's great news! Why not post some leaflets around your neighbours to make them aware of the Hedgehog Street campaign (

If you live in a flat, try to influence the management of local greenspace by attending management meetings or joining the 'friends of' group.

You could even throw hedgehog-themed parties! 

Live in Solihull? 

If you live in Solihull you can use this form to sign up to the Solihull Hedgehog Improvement Area, the UK's first hedgehog conservation zone. You can also help their project by submitting a hedgehog sighting.

What The Wildlife Trusts are doing to help

The Wildlife Trusts are working hard across the UK to restore habitat for wildlife and campaign for better protection for all nature.  Many run projects to specifically address the disappearance of our hedgehogs, including raising awareness amongst local communities, recording sightings, encouraging people to take action at home and targeting hedgehog hotspots for conservation effort. In March, 2015 Warwickshire Wildlife Trust launced a landmark project to create the UK’s first dedicated hedgehog conservation area - a ‘Hedgehog Improvement Area’ which aims to put Solihull on the map as a model for hedgehog conservation in the UK.

Here are some examples of how The Wildlife Trusts are working hard up and down the UK to benefit species like the hedgehog: 

Warwickshire Wildlife Trust
Devon Wildlife Trust
Suffolk Wildlife Trust

The Hedgehog Improvement Area (HIA) is an innovative hedgehog conservation project developed and delivered by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust thanks to funding from the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. The Solihull HIA launched in March 2015 and aims to bolster local hedgehog populations and inspire local people and organisations to take action to help the species.

The Trust, will design, plan and deliver a range of scientifically rigorous hedgehog population surveys and co-ordinate large-scale ongoing citizen science projects. 

In 2011 Devon Wildlife Trust ran a survey, which saw more than 3,000 records received. The results confirmed its suspicions and the evidence from studies elsewhere: hedgehogs in Devon are struggling. 

To raise awareness, Devon Wildlife Trust has developed a new interactive game Help the Hog which teaches you to look after hedgehogs on your patch. 

Suffolk Wildlife Trust aims to increase people's awareness about issues facing hedgehogs. In May 2014, it launched a county-wide call to action to establish the status of hedgehogs.  Staff, volunteers, organisations and groups were encouraged to submit sightings and signs of hedgehogs through iSpy, an online survey.  The data will inform conservation objectives, target efforts and action for 2015 and beyond.

Warwickshire Wildlife Trust
Shropshire Wildlife Trust
Brecknock Wildlife Trust

Warwickshire WT’s Help for Hedgehogs campaign has been successful in receiving £30,000 worth of funding from the Hedgehog Preservation Society to launch a new Hedgehog Improvement Area project in North Solihull. This is going to be a dedicated hedgehog conservation zone creating habitat improvements, with lots of opporunities for community engagement as well. A dedicated Hedgehog Officer will also be employed in early 2015. 

Shropshire Wildlife Trust arranged to visit three local schools, giving pupils the opportunity to learn more about the species and think about creating suitable habitats (log piles etc.) for hedgehogs to rest in their gardens.

The Trust rescued and released hedgehogs into Shropshire around April-May, when they would usually awaken from hibernation and begin searching out a mate. 

As part of its Mammals on your Doorstep (a Co-operative 5p carrier bag funded project) five schools in Brecknock, part of Powys County, now have hedgehog hibernacula boxes in their school grounds.

Brecknock Wildlife Trust is also encouraging local communities to discover, help and record the wild mammals their towns and surrounding areas enjoy. 

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Cumbria Wildlife Trust

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust have launched an iSpy a Hedgehog survey, where you can report sightings in Yorkshire. Helping to monitor hedgehogs is so important!

You can also support YWT's hedgehog appeal by donating to their JustGiving appeal page.

Cumbria Wildlife Trust is running an iSpy a Hedgehog survey, where you can view sightings of hedgehogs in Cumbria and report your own. By getting involved you will help uncover more about where hedgehogs are living, whether numbers are increasing, decreasing or staying the same and how many are dying on our roads.