This is a guest post, kindly written by Emma Kate Farley. Emma designs silver nature jewellery inspired by nature and British Wildlife. Her jewellery supports her work helping to save our declining wild hedgehogs. Since 2012, she has been a hedgehog rehabilitator, nursing sick and injured wild hedgehogs and releasing them back to the wild. Emma is also a passionate wildlife gardener and has created a York wildlife garden that she uses to help inspire people to garden for insects and wildlife.
A hedgehog feeding station is the perfect solution if you want to feed hedgehogs without the food getting wolfed down first by the neighbourhood cats. It also helps to keep the food and the hedgehog nice and dry when it’s raining.
You can make a hedgehog feeding station very cheaply using a plastic box. Remember to only use a feeding station for food and use a separate box if you want to provide a hedgehog house.
You will need:
- A plastic storage box with a lid. A minimum of 12″ wide by 18″ (or bigger if you like!)
- A stanley knife or strong scissors to cut the hole
- Measuring tape to measure out the size of the hole
- Strong tape to cover the cut edges of the hole
- A brick or heavy stone
- Small and sturdy ceramic bowls for food
Building the box
- Decide whether you want to have the box with the lid on or upside down with the lid underneath.
- Carefully cut out a hole around 4.5″ square.
- Tape up the edges of the hole so there no jagged edges which could potentially injure visiting hedgehogs
- Line the box with newspaper
- Put the food at the far end of the box
- Place a brick or heavy stone on top to help prevent the lid being taken off by a fox or a cat
Positioning and maintenance
Position the feeding station in an open area where you can easily access them to top up the food and water, keeping them separate from any hibernation boxes. If you are having problems with cunning cats getting into the feeding station, try placing the entrance up against a fence or wall with only a hedgehog sized gap behind it.
Check the box each day and change the newspaper when it gets dirty. Make sure you wash the food bowls regularly to keep them clean. As with all wildlife and bird feeding stations, hygiene is very important to prevent spreading bacteria.
Looking out for hedgehogs
If you haven’t spotted a hedgehog before but want to know if they are in your area, have a look at the Big Hedgehog Map.
If you want to check that your visitor is, in fact, a hedgehog, the best way is to invest in a night camera. Or, try placing a non-toxic ink pad at the entrance followed by a white paper lining. You should then be able to spot hedgehog footprints made by the ink….
Another tell-tale sign of a hedgehog visiting your feeding station is to see what is left behind. Hedgehogs will leave some crumbs, whereas a cat will wipe the bowl clean. A hedgehog may also leave you a calling card in the bowl or nearby. For this reason it is also vital to keep your feeding station clean.
Visit littlesilverhedgehog.com for even more tips on helping hedgehogs and to view Emma’s beautiful range of silver nature jewellery inspired by nature and british wildlife.