Somerset Wildlife Trust

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Wildlife Gardening with Rustle

Rustle the Hedgehog demonstrates how you can make your garden extra friendly to wildlife... and to hedgehogs in particular!

Thank you to Jackie Larner for the photos.

Rustle at fence

Did you know that hedgehogs can travel around 1 mile every night? You can help them on their way by making a small gap in your garden fence -­ it only needs to be 13x13cm or 5in sq. Alternatively, dig a channel underneath your wall or gate.

Hedgehogs need to travel to forage for food and find a mate, and increasingly secure British gardens (and therefore decreasingly available land for a hedgehog to cover) are one of the reasons behind the decline in their numbers. 

Rustle in pond






Every wildlife garden should have a pond, as it supports a variety of species and provides a year-round supply of water for birds and mammals. Hedgehogs enjoy hunting for the insects and amphibians that make their homes in and around ponds, as well as going there to drink.

It’s a little-known fact that hedgehogs are brilliant swimmers, but they drown if they can’t easily climb out of the water. Ideas to make your pond hedgehog friendly include placing bricks, stones or chicken wire in the water, or ensuring one edge is a gentle slope.

Rustle in wildlife garden







Leaving piles of leaves or overgrown areas will encourage hedgehogs to visit your garden, but be careful not to disturb them when tidying up!

Encourage other wildlife too by putting up bird feeders, just like those above Rustle in the photo.

Rustle in house






Buy or make a hedgehog house to encourage hedgehogs to nest in your garden. The house should ideally be made of untreated wood from a native species, such as larch, Douglas-fir or red cedar.

Place the house in a quiet, shady area and consider adding an entrance tunnel to keep foxes and badgers from sticking their paws in! You could place leaves, straw or hay in and around the box to help the hedgehog gather its bedding.

Clean the house in October, before hibernation, and April, after hibernation.