Hedgehogs are animals with a beautiful face, very difficult to see during the day. They usually go out at dusk and, above all, at dusk, since that is when they feel safer.. For this reason, encounters with them in the gardens are casual, but once they occur, what to do?
Well, they’re nocturnal animals, so it may be a long time before you see them again, but just because you don’t see them doesn’t mean they’re gone. So then I will tell you what I do since I found a hedgehog in the garden.
My story with the hedgehogs in the garden
It was a winter afternoon, at about half past four in the afternoon (Spanish time) that I began to hear a somewhat curious sound that came from the room that serves as a refuge for my ‘garden cats’ (yes, you read that right : cats; five that are seen daily, and another two or three that come to visit). I approached, and there it was: an adult hedgehog drinking from a feline bowl. The poor thing was thirsty.
The most curious thing was that, looking at the cats, they behaved as if they already knew him. And that’s when, looking back, I realized that It had been several days since I found that bowl with little water every day. Felines are not big drinkers, and they still prefer to drink from the bucket, so yes: the hedgehog had been coming for a long time. There was no other explanation.
From that day on, things changed a bit in the garden.
What to do if I find a hedgehog?
identify the species
The first thing you should keep in mind is that there are two species of hedgehogs that are NOT legal in Spain, one is the Hemiechinus gilded known as long-eared hedgehog, and the other Atelerix albiventris or pygmy hedgehog as they are included in the Catalog of Invasive Species. Therefore, if it belongs to any of these species, you must call SEPRONA.
Also, you should know that the common hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) is protected by law and it is illegal to keep it as a pet.
Check it out to see how it is
You have to see that he is well, healthy, and without any apparent problem. That is to say, if you see that it walks well, if it drinks and eats, surely it is a healthy hedgehog; but if he limps, or has any injuries, try to pick him up carefully and take him to a veterinarian. If it is a baby, you should also consult with the veterinarian so that they can tell you how you should take care of it.
It is healthy and it is not an invasive species, how to have it in the garden?
It is important that you always keep in mind that can’t be a petsince it would not be legal. But if one day you find one in the garden, then you can do things to make it feel comfortable and come back. Yes indeed, You must always have an entry/exit route to your plotsuch as a small hole in the wall. Surely you already have it (if not, the hedgehog would not have reached the garden), but it is worth knowing because, that way, it stays open.
Once you have that route secured, without anyone deciding to cover it up, you can do things to favor your stay, such as:
- Set up a drinking fountain and keep it filled with clean water daily. Water is always welcome, especially during the summer when it’s hot.
- Get cat food. Read the composition and nutritional value of it, as it must be adjusted, as far as possible, to these values (information obtained from the web erisos.org):
- Proteins: 22%
- Fats: 5%
- Fiber: 15%
- Calcium: 0%
- Phosphorus: 0%
- Iron: 75ppm
- Copper: 4-23 7-16 3-7mg/kg
- Magnesium: 11-146 11-70 5mg/kg
- Zinc: 20-175 100-190 30mg/kg
- Make sure your garden is quiet. Cats and hedgehogs can be tolerated, since the cats will not dare to attack them because of the spikes they have; With dogs there should be no problems either, but things change if there are baby hedgehogs. These, being much more vulnerable, should be kept away from furry ones.
- Do not use chemical plant protection products. Commitment to organic farming. Any chemical insecticide or fertilizer would cause serious damage to the hedgehog. Take a look at our articles on home remedies to get rid of pests and about the Organic fertilizers.
- Do not search it. Maybe you’ll see him again, maybe you won’t but, as I said before, he probably only goes out at night. Therefore, the best thing you can do is not to look for it, not to remove leaves or branches because it may be sleeping. You can even buy a hedgehog shelter, like this one, and put it in an area where it will be safe and quiet:
The hedgehog as an ally of the garden
Believe it or not, the hedgehog is an omnivorous animal. Eats mainly snails, worms, beetles, grasshoppers, lizards, earthworms and even frogs if given the chancebut also enjoys berries and fruits. Therefore, it is not bad to know that there is one in the garden, since any of the aforementioned animals can cause very serious damage to plants.
For example, snails eat cacti, and there are certain grasshoppers that devour the leaves. Therefore, it does not hurt to bet on organic farming, since this is how the hedgehog becomes a resident (free, I insist; not as a pet) of the garden.