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:
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.
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.
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.
A log pile in a quiet spot will provide a haven for mammals to shelter.
You can help 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 through a gap in your hedge or fence and ask your neighbours to do the same.