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Caring for Hedgehogs in a Heatwave

18th July 2018
Photo: Julie Wilkinson, Hedgehog Street

Photo: Julie Wilkinson, Hedgehog Street

From paddling pools to Pimms, we each have our own way of dealing with the heat. For hedgehogs, long periods of dry weather can be really tough. There are fewer creepy crawlies to munch on and water is in desperately short supply.

Thirsty Hoglets

Photo: Arthur Southwell, Hedgehog Champion

Photo: Arthur Southwell, Hedgehog Street










Most hedgehogs are born in June and July and we’ve been hearing from our hedgehog champions that hoglets are appearing in back gardens all over Britain.

Young hedgehogs typically spend a few weeks at the nest and then ten days learning to forage with mum. After that, they will wander off on their own to hunt, forage and explore their surroundings.

Although insects like earwigs and beetles thrive in summer and provide a feast for foraging hoglets, slugs and earthworms are in short supply during dry spells. Water sources also dry up and, without access to fresh water, the little hogs have little chance of surviving their first few weeks of life.

How Can You Help?

Even those with the smallest garden can help keep a hedgehog hydrated! Just place a bowl or saucer of fresh water out every evening to be visited by thirsty hedgehogs. It’s also a good idea to put out some wet cat or dog food to compensate for the lack of natural food available. For more information about what you should feed hedgehogs, click here.

If you have more space in your garden, why not also build a pond? A pond provides hedgehogs with a year-round water supply and an abundance of insects and amphibians. Hedgehogs also love swimming and a pond makes the perfect summer pool. Just make sure they can come and go as they please by creating a gently sloping edge or ramp.

Hedgehog escape ramp, by Iain Green

This water feature in a contemporary garden has a special pebble beach to allow hedgehogs to escape. Photo by Iain Green.

For more information about what hedgehogs eat in the wild, click here.

If you ever have any concern about a hedgehog’s health and they look obviously unwell, please contact our friends at BHPS or 01584 890801