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This autumn why not take steps towards getting to know your garden hedgehogs better and help them thrive in your outdoor spaces—the payback is plentiful.

I often refer to hedgehogs as ‘garden bouncers’ because they do a stand-up job of keeping pests, like slugs and snails, at bay—so they’re a big ally. As a patron for the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, I know that hedgehogs really need our help.

There are fantastic kits you can buy that record the activity of wildlife in your garden using a tunnel, some food and some well-positioned ink pads to record their footprints.

This can be a really enjoyable and educational pastime for you and the family, and it will tell you more about the wildlife that shares your garden with you.

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Make sure to avoid using milk to attract hedgehogs as they’re actually lactose intolerant and this will give them a nasty stomach upset, a supply of fresh water is a much better idea. If you leave out some chicken or turkey cat food in jelly rather than gravy - which is too salty - you’ll soon find you get regular visitors.

As they prepare for hibernation, you can do a lot to ensure that hedgehogs survive the cold winter nights.

A hedgehog home is a really simple way to give these incredible creatures a safe habitat. I have more information about how to build your own on my website.

For gardens with walled or fenced boundaries, make a little cut out in your garden border about the size of a side plate and it will allow them to pass from one garden to the next and escape from predators—signpost it ‘Hedgehog Highway’ and you might even find your neighbours join in too!

So, this autumn, spare a thought for these marvellous little mammals and you’ll find that it’s a rewarding effort for both you and your garden.

David Domoney, Thrive Ambassador