Hedgehog Awareness Week - Day 5 - Provide water

WildNet - Tom Marshall

It’s Hedgehog Awareness Week! With the warmer months luring hedgehogs out of their winter hibernacula, May is an exciting time of year and the perfect time to act and give hedgehogs a helping hand. 7 days, 7 top hog tips. Day 5 – Provide water!

Water is essential to life and a whole host of species require water for more than to quench their thirst. From providing species such as freshwater invertebrates and amphibians with breeding grounds and shelter, to a welcome way for birds to bathe and rid their pesky parasites, to acting as areas where insects congregate, which in turn feed species such as bats, to providing muddy surfaces of which butterflies obtain minerals. Having water sources in your garden is one of the best things you can do for wildlife.

Whether it be by leaving dishes of water out, or going bigger scale and creating ponds to provide water, they come as a welcome relief to hedgehogs who will be sure to be thirsty on their 2km- 3km nightly travels in the summer.

Common frog

2 -WildNet - Richard Burkmar

Not only can ponds provide hedgehogs with a welcome pit stop, but of all the different types of garden features, ponds can attract a greater variety of wildlife than any other feature.

Ponds don’t have to be hard to create either and can be created to suite the space that you have. They can simply be made out of pots, washing up bowls, old sinks or purpose built ponds. For help on how to create a pond, check out our guides to create different sized ponds to suit the size of your green space.

 Create a mini pond 

Create a big pond 

Whilst ponds are extremely beneficial to wildlife, some species such as hedgehogs can get into trouble around water despite being good swimmers. Unfortunately, hedgehogs can drown in ponds due to exhaustion if they haven’t been able to exit a pond due to steep sides or smooth surfaces. Having ponds with at least one side to it with a gentle slope allows wildlife to easily exit, or if this isn’t suitable for your pond, having ramps, bricks or stones stacked on top of each other creating shallow areas to compliment deeper areas will also help wildlife to escape. Keeping an eye on water levels in the summer and not letting the water levels get too low will also avoid hedgehogs leaning into ponds and falling in.

Another watery hazard where thirsty hedgehogs may get into trouble in gardens are drain holes. Hedgehogs can fall into drain holes and not be able to get back out. To avoid this, covering your drains in your garden with secure and sturdy mesh, will avoid hedgehogs entering and therefore becoming stuck.

Remember, placing your water source near where you might be able to see it from a distance or from in your house, will allow you to watch the visitors which are sure to flock to it. You may just be surprised hooo (ahem) comes to visit to quench their thirst!

 

Bathing Tawny owl - from Ipswich trail camera