Mammals

Hedgehog (c) Tom MarshallHedgehog (c) Tom Marshall

Almost all gardens, including those in the heart of towns and cities, will receive at least occasional visits from some mammals.

The closer you live to a meadow, park, woodland or a space where mammals are often found, the greater the likelihood these animals will make their way into your garden. 

Whatever the size of your garden, with a little patience and effort you'll be rewarded with visitors. For many, the joy of being able to look out of your window to see signs of deer, badgers, foxes, bats and hedgehogs is a real incentive to garden with wildlife in mind.

There are many ways you can attract mammals to your garden:

Access

Make access as easy as possible by ensuring there are gaps at ground level in hedges and fences. This will help wildlife to move from garden to garden.

Plant food

Mammals prefer eating native plants and fruits. Plant native trees, plants and shrubs such as hazel, crab-apple, hawthorn, privet, guelder rose, wayfaring tree and spindle.

Some mammals are omnivores or carnivores, so a soil rich in invertebrates is important to feed hedgehogs and the native trees and shrubs will provide insects for bats.

Water

All mammals need water, and the best way to encourage them to your garden is to have a pond.

Find out more about restoring or creating a wildlife friendly pond.

Shelter

Hedgehogs love the warmth of a compost heap, so while these are a great way to attract them, ensure you check for the heap before using the compost on your garden. Find out more about composting. {Link to composting}

A log pile in a quiet spot will provide a haven for mammals to shelter.

Hedgehogs

Only one in five people in the UK have ever seen a hedgehog in their garden. 

While all mammals are important, hedgehogs have seen a rapid decline since the 1950s. Hedgehogs used to be a familiar and well-loved visitor to our gardens, but according to a survey by the PTES only one in five people in the UK have ever seen a hedgehog in their garden.

Intensive agriculture, loss of hedgerows and permanent grassland, use of pesticides, tidier gardens, new houses (with hedgehog-proof fences) and new roads have probably all played their part in their decline.

You can help to provide a safe habitat in your garden by:

  • Avoiding the use of pesticides.
  • Creating a pond with shallow areas for hedgehogs to drink from and so they can climb out if they fall in.
  • Providing nesting sites, such as log and leaf piles and purpose built hedgehog homes.
  • Being aware of dangers such as checking the area before strimming and mowing or lighting a bonfire.
  • Creating a hedgehog highway by creating access a gap in your hedge or fence and ask your neighbours to do the same.

Don’t forget to report your sightings on the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust Hedgehog map.

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