Are Hedgehogs Bad For Your Garden

Do you have a hedgehog in your backyard? Are you wondering if hedgehogs are a bad thing for the garden? Wonder no more! Throughout this post, I will examine the good, the bad, and the hungry hedgehogs.

Answering questions like why hedgehogs curl up in a ball? and are hedgehogs aggressive? Do hedgehogs like the rain? Plus, tell you about hedgehogs considered pests and friends in different countries worldwide. Thus continue ahead to discover out all you ought to know about hedgehogs!

Are Hedgehogs Bad for Your Garden – Can They Live in your Garden at All! 

No, hedgehogs are relatively good for your garden, and they’ve earned the designation “gardener’s best friend” for their ability to keep pests away. Nevertheless, having more than one necessitates vigilance since they dig holes while still munching on fruits and veggies in your garden. There are some negative consequences for hedgehogs in many places of the globe where they have travelled. They are carnivores of native young birds and some varieties of reptiles and good insects for the garden.

Due to the above, inviting them into your garden in certain countries is not recommended. Yet, I see no justification for treating them inhumanely and killing or enslaving them unless necessary. Because, after all, they were carried to other regions of the planet by us, the human race.

A straightforward, Yes or No, isn’t the answer to the question of whether hedgehogs can dwell in your garden; 

Nevertheless, if you want your bristly pal to come within the garden, They may require assistance getting in and out of your yard. 

For this reason, creating tunnels around the garden perimeter, removing stones from walls, or making holes in them are all acceptable. Building security for your spiky buddy in your garden. And if your garden landscape has natural trees, shrubs, and hedges that provide sanctuaries for bugs that are ideal for hedgehog feasting.

What Are Hedgehogs 

Small Hedgehog
Small Hedgehog next to a cup. https://unsplash.com/@scohron

Hedgehogs used to be called urchins, but people later changed that name. Still, with more than 5000 spikes, this animal is either a nuisance or a saviour depending on the circumstances. 

They can reach weights of up to 1 kilo or more and have a body length of 10-30 cm. Erinaceus Europaeus is a scientific name with about 17 different species worldwide.

They’re encrusted in porcupine-like quills and have spherical faces and stumpy legs. Hedgehogs and porcupines are not relatives amidst their commonly described. Like our fingernails, hedgehog quills are comprised of keratin.

Hedgehogs are known for the unusual methods of foraging and eating in their everyday lives. The majority of these animals’ diet consists of insects in the backyard, worms, geckos, snails, rodents, frogs, and spiders, which they rustle up from hedges and other vegetation. 

Hedgehogs are solitary creatures that moan like pigs as they scurry through the undergrowth. They have been known to wander for miles in search of food, which is why they are called hedgehogs.

What are the Indications of a Hedgehog in the Yard?

First, you’ll see five-toed tracks, similar to a large rodent footprint. Look for the indications outlined below.

  • The forefeet are considerably more comprehensive and short in size than the hind feet, producing two distinct impressions generated by the same critter.
  • Hedgehog pooh is black, with a dark greenish hue to fresh dung.
  • Before a hedgehog is spotted at night, it is customary to encounter movement and snuffling or snorting-like sounds.
  • You may discover damaged shrubs and fewer slugs and snails than usual, or your cat food on the porch may be disappearing.

Where do hedgehogs come from 

The Moon-rat, an Asian mammal, is a near kin of this spiky food bandit of the night.

Hedgehogs come in 17 different varieties across five categories, with some hedgehogs being somewhat resilient to a snake bite that may explain their continued existence. 

They are familiar and widespread throughout Europe, Africa, and Central Asia. One theory holds that hedgehogs emerged in England, spread to Scotland, and eventually brought to New Zealand and Australia.

As we would recognize, Hedgehogs have been existed for roughly 15 million years and have resurfaced in the UK amid eras of glaciation. Hedgehogs were branded vermin throughout the Medieval Era and almost to the 18th century.

Are Hedgehogs a Pest or a Friend? 

More than one hedgehog in the garden
More than one hedgehog in the garden your friend might be a pest? Photo 109300138 © Pstedrak | Dreamstime.com

So, whether hedgehogs are pests or friends, the topic is tricky. For one thing, they may dig holes in your cherished garden, which is typically unwelcome. They may also harbour externally harmful parasites, which is never a good thing. And, depending on the food supply, our hedgehog may attract undesired pals like rodents, and, somewhat counterintuitively, the hedgehog’s earned distinction as a gardener’s best friend is not accurate when they will devour veggies and fruit.

The hedgehogs’ predators are scarce in most regions of the globe where they have travelled: the fox and certain canines are game enough to handle the needles like a (fatal injection), and several big game birds may feed on them, such as eagles, hawks, falcons, and owls. As a result, Tiggy-Winkle (the hedgehog in Peter Rabbit) has proven a bit of a problem in various world areas.

To summarise, we have honoured this charming creature by making the hedgehog neither friend nor adversary. We have read tales such as Alice in Wonderland, the Red Queen employed hedgehogs as croquet balls, and we have seen a blue hedgehog nicknamed Sonic in the iconic superhero film. Hedgehogs have found their way into popular culture across the centuries, owing to their historical relevance in the United Kingdom.

Furthermore, as earlier noted, the cherished hedgehog’s immigration status is a human mistake.

I would argue that despite the thirst and hunger of this prickly ball, the hedgehog is a comrade, but that’s just my viewpoint; what’s yours?

Hedgehogs As Pets (The New Trend)  

Aside from the many other animals that have been maintained as pets in our garden — whether ethically questionable or not — we currently have Mr Spiky, the hedgehog. This African pygmy hedgehog was acquired from Africa in 1970.

They need less care than rats and rabbits and have a faint odour, which pet stores believe contributes to their burgeoning popularity. They’re sensitive and lonely, so they’ll stay up late for your nighttime activities. 

Is it worth the challenges of having a hedgehog as a pet? 

Hedgehogs as pets may not be a good idea
Pet hedgehogs are not the best idea: https://unsplash.com/@hedgehog90
  • In the wild, hedgehogs eat bugs, plants, and roots. You may employ mealworms, live slugs from your garden wall, snails, and worms from pet stores in captivity.
  • Hedgehogs can only exercise after dusk since they arise at night. A high-quality wooden hamster wheel or a silicone spinning wheel will do fine.
  • They need time to become used to humans, but you can tame them with careful treatment and involvement. Hedgehogs have spines to protect them from predators, yet they do not bite like dogs.
  • It’s particularly unusual to see a hedgehog self-anoint when first encountered. Hedgehog saliva froths and extends outward when exposed to new scents. Experts say it’s a stress reduction or defence mechanism.

Hedgehogs are not native to North America. Thus, the pet trade has benefited from their mistreatment. Because of their small size, “compact companions” like Mr Hedgehog demand specific attention and care that some people can’t provide.

Why do they curl up in a ball? 

This is common in hedgehogs to tumble into a ball when terrified or disturbed, causing attackers to ignore them. The muscles cause the spines to connect, creating an unbreakable barricade of sharp prickles.

Unless wounded or have sores on their undercarriage, hedgehogs seldom uncurl.

Are Hedgehogs Aggressive? 

Hedgehogs are not a hostile species, but we as humans are unfamiliar with the situations of nipping or growling and misinterpret some of these little ball of needles gestures as unfriendly. And, yes, hedgehogs can nip and claw, but it’s not necessarily due to malice and noting that hedgehogs typically roll up when they see a humanoid.

There is no genuine social ladder, and it appears that the degree of hostility among animals, rather than its status, drives aggressiveness. Furthermore, the temperament of individual hedgehogs varies greatly.

Hedgehogs have a preferred spot in your yard where they eat at night. They typically avoid direct contact and give each other a vast space.

When a brawl breaks out, each critter dips its neck, extends its backbone of sharps, and strikes each other’s flanks whilst huffing and puffing or cackling furiously.

Why do Hedgehogs Hiss?

As with so-called hostility, the hedgehog emits a screeching noise? In principle, hedgehogs adopt this protective behaviour to indicate that they are worried or nervous. 

Hissing is a hedgehog’s form of conveying that it is terrifying and uneasy, maybe due to a change in surroundings. If you have a companion hedgehog, moderate movements will minimize hissing after the hedgehog is acquainted with your scent and comfortable.

What is Toxic to Hedgehogs?

Hedgehogs in the backyard have been known for weird behaviour tasting hazardous stimulants like paint and other garden sprays, then foaming and anointing at the mouth recovering. 

But if your prickly hedgehog buddy is a pet avoid, delicacies like grapes and guacamole are particularly toxic to hedgehogs. Even though some people give nuts and raisins are commonly classified as a suffocation threat since they get trapped on the top of their throat and induce them to suffocate. 

Avoid feeding insects you have captured yourself to your companion hedgehog as they may have metabolized pesticides. Some pet treats and, of course, slug granules are not appropriate for hedgehogs. 

Another factor is that hot fragrances such as Cassia, Cinnamon Bark, Clove, Hyssop, Lemongrass, Oregano, Peppermint are frequently used in shampoos and washing chemicals. Anything you throw in the air will be inhaled by your hedgehog and may be detrimental! 

Because cedar and pine woods are deadly to hedgehogs, you should avoid them. These can potentially induce lung problems, baldness, tissue and tremendous spike difficulties.

The Hedgehog’s Quirks Exposed

This fascinating scene depicts the peculiarities of this intriguing species. Why do hedgehogs use turpentine, tobacco, and other toxic chemicals? This video from Nat Geo WILD on YouTube is a must-see for animal behaviour enthusiasts.

National Geographic Wild. (2012, August 1). Hedgehogs Love Poisons | World’s Weirdest [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rx4dONoJzzA

Can you have too many hedgehogs around the house (ahem, I mean backyard) and why this might be an issue with their diet being so specific when it comes to eating bugs!

Insect-eating Hedgehogs may upset the sensitive balance of the ecosystem if there are too many of them nearby. Slugs, snails, and more enormous insects are the most common prey, although they will devour just about any biological substance or plant material. 

Hedgehogs greatly rely on their olfactory receptors to locate their meals and destroy pollinators, such as butterflies, bees, flies, and moths, which we need to pollinate our plants. Critters may be eliminated by predatory insects such as ladybugs or dragonflies and others and parasites that attack other bugs in a slightly unusual approach.

If you don’t mind the hedgehog chomping on your strawberries, fresh lettuce, or beans when it becomes desperately ravenous, you may share your fruits and vegetables with the hedgehog.

It doesn’t matter if there are merely a few. The possibility of courting cries and hostility in the middle of the night is alarming.

While it may be distressing to sometimes intervene with our keen buddy, there may be a few too many in your garden. Discouraging them may be a vital step in protecting your garden’s ecosystem as well as the well-being of yourself and your household.

Additionally, it’s worth mentioning again that in certain jurisdictions, they are predators.

How do Hedgehogs care for their babies?

Hedgehog babies are known as hoglets, and they live with their parents for about four to six weeks before finding a new home since their mother could perhaps digest them. Mother hedgehogs shelter in far limited places than men hedgehogs would; they favour nesting sites away from loudness and interruptions, but they also emphasize warm nests.

Conversely, in certain places, the hoglet period might commence as early as the first days of spring. There might be as many as seven babies in a typical litter. Yet, only two or three of the infants are generally nursed adequately. If disturbed, the mother sometimes neglects or even devours her offspring.

Gardening shelters, tarpaulin, shacks, workshops, and stacks of timber are common areas for hedgehog moms to raise their young.

When the breading spirals out of control, you may need to transfer them or call wildlife rescue.

NOTE: In their second year of life, hedgehogs become fully mature and can procreate each year until they perish.

Can Hedgehogs swim?

I had no idea that hedgehogs could swim, but they have powerful swimming abilities like some dogs and sometimes venture into lakes and streams. While these are creatures of the night, hedgehogs are understood to run and swim quite a few kilometres at twilight to find food. 

Although as with grandma and most of us on a cold day, it is difficult entering or exiting the water our ball of needles.  

 Do Hedgehogs Come Out in the Rain?

Hedgehogs, like you and me, prefer warm, warm temperatures. Even though they can swim, wild hedgehogs have been seen swimming during the rainy season, though when appetite takes over, browsing for insects, slugs, and worms.

As the winter season approaches, finding larvae, caterpillars, and molluscs becomes more challenging for nourishment. Hedgehogs slow down to minimize energy consumption and enter hibernation, a state in which they become stagnant, and their body temp decreases.

Notwithstanding, in certain places of the globe, they do not hibernate, and the water is nice and warm. Which relates to their prestige as a nuisance in those areas.

You will most presumably not have seen them in your garden while it is pouring with rain, but rather after the rain has ceased and the worms emerge up early in the morning.

Final Thoughts 

I’m extending you a giant hedgehog hug for reading this post. I hope you acquired a few things about the prickly creature to ascertain if hedgehogs are bad for your garden. Just bear in mind that harbouring more than two hedgehogs in the garden may cause issues.

If you spot a hedgehog strolling about during the day, it is almost certainly in distress and should be scooped up with some sturdy garden gloves, put in a container, and sent to a wildlife refuge.

Hedgehogs have been deemed a nuisance in certain parts of the world, such as New Zealand, where you should contact the Department of Conservation; in Europe, contact your local animal rescue or The Wildlife Trusts; and in the United States, contact the ASPCA.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and have a wonderful day.

Sources of Information on Hedgehogs

Secuianu, M. (2021, April 15). Hedgehog In Your Garden? Here’s How to Look After Them. GardenBeast. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://gardenbeast.com/hedgehog-in-garden/

Gardens, T. S. (2021, April 14). 15 Options If You Find a Hedgehog in Your Garden. The Salutation Gardens. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://www.the-salutation.com/hedgehog-in-garden/

Wright, T., & Miller, S. (n.d.). Do Hedgehogs Dig Holes in Lawns? – Garden Doctor. The Garden Doctor. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://gardendoctor.org/do-hedgehogs-dig-holes-in-lawns/

RSPB. (n.d.). How to Attract Hedgehogs to your Garden. The RSPB. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/advice/gardening-for-wildlife/homes-for-hedgehogs/

Bradford, A. (2015, June 16). Hedgehog Facts. Livescience.Com. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://www.livescience.com/51221-hedgehog.html

National Geographic Society. (n.d.). Hedgehog | National Geographic. Https://Www.Nationalgeographic.Com. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/facts/hedgehog

Department of Conservation NZ. (n.d.). Hedgehogs. Https://Www.Doc.Govt.Nz. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/pests-and-threats/animal-pests/hedgehogs/

Evergreen Garden Care (UK). (n.d.). 15 hedgehog facts for kids. Love The Garden. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://www.lovethegarden.com/uk-en/article/15-hedgehog-facts-kids

S. (2022, January 18). Hedgehog Facts. Facts.Net. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://facts.net/hedgehog-facts/

Hedgehog Street. (2021b, August 3). History of the hedgehog. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/about-hedgehogs/hedgehogs-history/

Willows Hedgehog Rescue. (n.d.). All About Hedgehogs. Local Life & Little Histories. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://www.littlehistories.co.uk/all-about-hedgehogs.html

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). (2021, May 18). Here’s Why You Should Never Buy a Hedgehog. PETA. Retrieved February 24, 2022, fromhttps://www.peta.org/features/hedgehog-pet-industry/

College of Veterinary Medicine. (2021, November 1). Hedgehog Pets Cute But Challenging. Veterinary Medicine at Illinois. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://vetmed.illinois.edu/pet-health-columns/hedgehog-pets/

McKinnon, M. (2018, July 12). 4 Things You Need to Know About Pet Hedgehogs Before Adopting One. Good Housekeeping. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/pets/g20706693/how-to-care-for-a-pet-hedgehog/

MCLEOD, DVM, L. (2021, December 23). How to Care for a Pet African Pygmy Hedgehog. The Spruce Pets. https://www.thesprucepets.com/african-pygmy-hedgehogs-as-pets-1236866

Aps, R. (2019, July 25). Are hedgehogs aggressive? HEDGEHOG. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from http://hedgehogkeeper.com/are-hedgehogs-aggressive/

Wildlife Online. (n.d.). European Hedgehog Behaviour – Aggression & Fighting | Wildlife Online. Wildlife Online (Uk). Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://www.wildlifeonline.me.uk/animals/article/european-hedgehog-behaviour-aggression-fighting

N. (2014, May 27). Things toxic to hedgehogs. Hedgehog Central. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://www.hedgehogcentral.com/threads/things-toxic-to-hedgehogs.17/

Stone, C. (2020, June 16). Hedgehog Noises And What They Mean. Home & Roost. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://homeandroost.co.uk/blog/hedgehog-noises/

Sweetser, R. (2022, January 24). Beneficial Insects in the Garden. Almanac.Com. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://www.almanac.com/beneficial-insects-garden

The Wildlife Hospital Trust. (n.d.). Hedgehog Fact Sheet | Tiggywinkles. Https://Www.Sttiggywinkles.Org.Uk. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://www.sttiggywinkles.org.uk/hedgehog-fact-sheet/

Hedgehog Street. (2021, August 3). Breeding, babies, hoglets. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/about-hedgehogs/hoglets/

Sanctuary, H. (2020, June 16). The Mother Hedgehog – Wild hedgehogs and baby hoglet habits and habitats. Wild Hedgehog Rescue. Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://www.hornbeamwood.org.uk/post/the-mother-hedgehog-wild-hedgehogs-and-baby-hoglet-habits-and-habitats

6 thoughts on “Are Hedgehogs Bad For Your Garden”

  1. Thank you for this very entertaining and informative article about hedgehogs.  I’m not very familiar with hedgehogs, other than having seen them occasionally in my garden and in the wild.

    None have ever decided to stay in my garden permanently, apparently there is nothing there to sustain them long term.  After reading your article, I can see why they would prefer to roam to other spots.

    I think that they’re entertaining to watch.  I never knew that they were relatively harmless to humans, so I mainly kept my distance.  Now that I know more about them, I wouldn’t mind if one of these hedgehogs wanted to make my garden a permanent residence.  I would probably have to incorporate some things to attract one.

    Reply
    • George, you’re welcome. Not more than two or three, and you’ve got an excellent wild buddy to go out and peck at night at the spiky pal devouring a squishy slug. 

      They’re fascinating creatures that you should be proud to have around for educational and entertaining purposes.

      Many Blessings 

      Reply
  2. Thanks for such a comprehensive eyeball into hedgehogs. I really had very little understanding of these animals as they are not common in my area. Now I appreciate their impact upon pest control ( I hate frogs), how they are pretty much loners, function at night, and are pretty low maintenance. I have a 3-year old that likes to go out in the garden so your warnings that hedgehogs can be tempermental and somewhat unsocial were duly noted. I could see my 3 year old trying to investigate the curly yet prickly fur ball so would have to ensure they don’t interact. 

    Reply
    • Even if you’re not a fan of hedgehogs, their ability to deter pests might be a welcome addition to your property, mainly if the crocking frog is in the area. They do go off by themselves, just as some of us do as people. If the prickly friend is hiding during the day and only emerges at night when you are deep asleep, and the creepy crawlies are also out, you may be able to leave your 3-year-old kid in the backyard.

      I appreciate your perspective; it’s quite helpful. “Only1hugh?”   

      Reply
  3. Hi there,

    What a fun article. I found the reading fascinating.

    I have many Hedgehogs in my garden, and they always come in front of my door to eat my dog’s food. My dog is a German Shelter, so when he sees a Hedgehog, he tries to take it in his mouth. Fortunately, I can stop him in time when this happens. Anyway, a friend of mine told me that Hedgehogs hold a lot of diseases and that it’s dangerous to touch them.

    Is that right?

    Thank you for this helpful post.

    Reply
    • Hey, Daniella.

      I believe you are correct about hedgehogs having disease, but so do other alien species to us, which have a different biological composition and are often infested with various bugs. Our cats and dogs, birds, and pet bunnies have multiple illnesses. 

      If you were to pick up a wild hedgehog, you would wear gloves, wash your hands afterwards, and do so with caution. Apart from that, the hedgehog will not give you an abnormal condition. I haven’t seen or heard of anything like this, but there have been situations across the globe when rats, mice, dogs, and cats have bitten a person and caused an illness, so take care in any scenario.

      If your dog is an outdoor dog that rolls about in the ground, they will most likely be OK with little contact dogs who have fantastic stomachs and can eat some unusual things.

      Many Blessings for the Feedback

      Reply

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