Gardening with Children

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How to look after the Wildlife in your garden during the Winter months

Date Posted: 01 December 2014

Winter is here and there is definitely a chill in the air, we are fortunate and can compensate by putting on the heating or wearing an extra layer but spare a thought for the creatures in our gardens, they are increasing relying on us to provide food and homes for them as their natural habitats decline.
 

Hedgehogs

Hedgehog numbers have dropped by 25% in the last 10 years with hibernation being a vulnerable time. Hedgehogs hibernate during the winter and need a safe, dry and warm place to pass the cold winter months, they start looking for somewhere to hibernate towards the end of Autumn and will hibernate when the temperatures become and remain low which is usually in November or December. Hedgehogs make a nest from old dry leaves, grass and other vegetation usually under hedges, sheds or in compost heaps, they need to eat well and put on weight to sustain them during hibernation when they can lose over a quarter of their bodyweight, as the weather becomes colder their natural food (slugs, beetles, caterpillars, snails etc.) becomes harder to find.
The Hogitat Hedgehog House 
 
 Igloo Hedgehog House
 
 The Original hedgehog house
Hedgehog Feeding Bowl
Hedgehog Food
 
How can we help?
Put a Hogitat Hedgehog House, a Hedgehog Igloo House or an Original Hedgehog House in your garden with a bowl of Hedgehog food to help them gain weight as well as a supply of fresh water. Don’t make your garden too tidy leave an area to go wild and overgrown, this will attract and provide habitat for their natural food, and thus attract hedgehogs to your garden.
 

Frogs, Toads and Newts

As well as Hedgehogs, Frogs, Toads and Newts make a great contribution in reducing the pests in our gardens, their main diet consists of slugs, snails and insects, as the weather turns colder they will be looking for a safe retreat for the winter.
 
Frogitat - Ceramic Frog and Toad House
 
Woodstone Frog and Toad House
 
How can we help?
Frogitats and Woodstone Frog and Toad Houses are purpose built shelters for Frogs, Toads and Newts, put a few around your garden to accommodate your amphibians. Site them somewhere quiet on soil where they won’t be disturbed placing some damp leaves and moss inside as well as on the top with a few twigs to camouflage them.
 

Bats

In the UK there are 18 species of bats, the largest is the Noctule and the smallest is the Pipistrelle. Bats feed at night eating mainly flying insects and will hibernate from November to March, they roost on their own or in small groups in attics, disused building, tunnels, bridges caves, or old trees but due to modern housing and redevelopment their roosting sites are diminishing.
 
 Wooden Bat Box
 
Conservation Bat Box
 
How can we help?
Put up a Double Chamber Bat Box or a  Conservation Bat Box in your garden, ideally 2 or 3 in different directions to provide a range of roosting temperatures at different times, site as high up as possible, in a sunny position and out of prevailing winds and rain (preferably facing south, south-east and south-west.
All UK bats and their roosts are protected by law, which means it is illegal to harm or disturb them so don’t be tempted to open your bat box to see who is inside instead you will have to watch closely to see if anyone comes in or out.
 

Dormice

The Dormouse is one of Britain’s most endangered mammals due to the loss of its habitat - deciduous woodland and hedgerows, they must be the sleepiest creatures in Britain, spending over half the year hibernating, and sleeping most of the day during the summer. Dormice are mainly found in Southern England and Wales their main diet consists of buds, hazelnuts, berries and invertebrates.
 
 A
 
Dormouse House
 
How can we help?
Put up a Dormouse House, they provide an ideal nesting habitat and are designed to accommodate their natural ball shaped nests. Position them in a quiet location on mature trees or in a thick hedgerow about 1-1.5m high with the hole facing the tree trunk.
Please note that as the Dormouse is a ‘Protected Species’ in the United Kingdom, it is against the law to disturb the mice, and when occupied inspection should only be carried out by a licensed inspector.
 
Because many species of creature are constantly seeking refuge and safe nesting sites, you may find that an unexpected species is using your product - this is part of nature and all species should be welcomed as part of your wildlife garden.

 

  

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