We knew we had hedgehogs in our garden this year when we spotted one doing a 100 metre sprint down our hedgerow one evening. They can really shift when they want to! But actually seeing a hedgehog is quite a rare treat. But They are generally secretive, nocturnal animals, so how do you tell if you have hedgehogs in your garden?
Hedgehogs are nocturnal, out and about at night when most of us are in bed. So even if they are visiting your garden it may be a while before you see one. You can still tell if they are thereby:
- Listening for piggy snuffling noises after dark.
- Looking out for hedgehog poo, about an inch long, shiny black and bullet-shaped.
- Looking out for hedgehog tracks.
- Looking for tunnels in your undergrowth.
- Getting a night camera
They are nocturnal, out and about when we are generally in bed. And they tend to spend their time in the undergrowth when they can.
So how do you know if you have a hedgehog in your garden? There are some tell tale signs you can look out for, and some tricks to detect boggy visitors.
In this article we’ll reveal all.
How To Tell If you Have Hedgehogs In Your Garden
Listen and Learn
Have you heard strange noises in your undergrowth after dark in the spring and summer? They could well be made by hedgehogs.
For such a little animal they are really very noisy.
The pig-like grunting and snuffling noises they make when they are out and about looking for food are likely to be the first thing you hear.
Then listen out for the amazing range of noises they make during the mating season in May.
And shortly after, all being well, you may be lucky enough to hear the chirruping of hungry hoglets in the nest.
Even if you can’t see your hedgehogs understanding the noises you are hearing can tell you an awful lot about what they are up to, and how they are doing.
So it’s worth checking out our full guide to hedgehog noises here.
Any naturalist will tell you that you can learn an awful lot about an animal from its poo. And hedgehogs are no exception.
The poo of a healthy hog is about an inch long, bullet-shaped and black and shiny. The black and shiny bit comes from all the beetles they eat. If you look closely you may see bits of beetle in the poo.
If the hedgehogs in your garden are unwell this will show in the poo.
Take a look at our guide to hedgehog poo to understand what your hogs poo is telling you. Close examination of hedgehog poo may not be your idea of a fun way to spend a Sunday morning. But if it means you can help out a sick hog in trouble it’s worth it, right?
Hedgehogs have quite distinctive tracks. Five fingers on the front paws and five much longer toes on the back.
But they are very light animals. So the ground needs to be pretty soft and muddy for them to be able to make any impression.
You can make a footprint trap or tunnel near your hedgehog house, or hedgehog highway as an easy way of seeing exactly who has passed through during the night.
It;s worth getting to know the tracks of the animals that visit your garden. Here’s a handy guide from the RSPB.
Hedgehogs like to travel through hedgerows and undergrowth where they can. It offers them better cover from any predators that may be around.
They are also creatures of habit and will often travel the same route each night.
So if you see little tunnels appearing in your borders, about 5 or six inches across, this could well be a hedgehog on the move.
Get a Night Camera
Maybe the most fun way to spot hedgehogs and other goings on in your garden at night is to get a nightcam.
Good night cameras are available from about £50.
They are triggered by movement and have infra-red lenses. So they can see what’s going on even on the darkest night.
If you tried one a few years ago and got frustrated, have another go. They have come on a long way now and are super-easy to use capturing great images and sound.
A camera set up where you think hedgehogs may be entering or leaving your garden, or by a feeding station, will give you solid proof on who is and isn’t visiting you at night.
Conclusion: You Can tell if Hedgehogs are Visiting You, Even if You Can’t See Them
So, with a bit of practice it’s not difficult to figure out whether or not you have hedgehogs in your garden, even if you can’t actually see them.
Hedgehogs are one of our most distinctive and loved mammals. But they are in trouble with numbers in sharp decline over recent years.
Everything you can do to help them will boost their numbers and contribute towards the survival of the species.
To find out more about hedgehogs and how to help them visit Hedgehog Street.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this article and found it useful. If you have questions or suggestions we would love to hear them.
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