Tuesday, 7 October 2014

A home for Mammals

Everybody seems to love birds but not many give a thought to our mammals, who also go hungry in many case, especially during winter months. It's not that people don't care, it's just they don't think about them, or they don't know how to help them, so species such as the Hedgehog have dropped off massively in recent years, a needless decline in a garden favorite.

Hedgehogs are probably the easiest mammal to help in the U.K. so to see them decline the way they have is quite sad. In days gone by, most gardens were separated only by hedges or other bushes, allowing Hedgehogs  to travel between inter-connected gardens in order to find more food, but as more and more people prefer to use walls or fences, their freedom to travel is limited meaning they can't find enough food to sustain themselves or their young. The best way to help hedgehogs is to cut a square gap in your fence, about large enough that you can put your fist through is normally O.K. but obviously common sense should tell you if the gap is too small.  This enables them to find enough slugs and snails to eat and thus will increase their population.

This isn't just beneficial for Hedgehogs, it also allows Field mice or even Dormice to travel with more freedom as they search for fruit and seeds to eat, and given how rarely most of us get to see these 2 beautiful but evasive creatures, they would surely be a welcome visitor to any wildlife enthusiasts garden.

So what about food? What would encourage them to visit your garden?

A safe and easy place to find food is a welcome treat to any wild animal, so if you scatter fruits and seeds on the floor in a shaded area, cover them with a hollow log, or even a small wooden shelter with a hole cut into the side about 2 inches by 2 inches, you may well get these elusive animals visiting your garden.

Also if you have a an old wooden barrel or cylinder why not cut it in half so as your left with a "Half-pipe" pop it under a hedge or a bush cover it with leaves and soil, pop a few live meal worms or other food in there (even wet dog food would do the trick) and see if you cant tempt a fox or even a badger to shelter and feed in your garden!

Again I would highly recommend becoming a member of the RSPB and your local Wildlife Trusts as i have stated before the information they give and the work they do is invaluable, and without them much of the wildlife we do see might not be here anymore.

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