Gardening boom in the UK We’re in lock-down, the temperature is in the twenties, and many of us are off work or working from home. What better time could there be to cultivate your garden into a luxurious paradise? With many of us turning to gardening to fill these locked-down days, unfortunately we are experiencing a rise in gardening-related hedgehog casualties and fatalities. Across the nation, hedgehog rescues are receiving hedgehogs that have been injured by garden strimmers and other gardening implements, as well as hedgehogs that have been poisoned by chemically-based garden pest controls.
Chemical garden pest repellents Many gardeners, driven to despair by slugs and snails destroying their plants, turn to chemical-based repellents such as slug pellets to deter these menaces from their garden. Slugs and snails, among other garden minibeasts are a staple in the natural diet of a hedgehog. When a hedgehog consumes a slug or snail that has been poisoned by a slug pellet, the hedgehog itself becomes poisoned.
The effect of slug pellets on hedgehogs Once a hedgehog has ingested the poison, it begins to work its way through the hedgehog’s body. The hedgehog will begin to display unusual behaviours, including:
Being active during daylight hours
Being lethargic, staggering on its feet or dragging its limbs
Frothing at the mouth
Unfortunately, once a hedgehog has ingested this poison, the chance of saving it is rare.
What you can do
There are many natural ways of controlling and repelling slugs and snails in your garden, all of which can be found by typing “natural methods of repelling slugs and snails” into your internet search engine. These include:
Beer traps – slugs and snails are attracted to the fumes given off by fermenting beer. Place nearly empty cans around flower beds, and slugs will enter the cans, drink the beer and perish
Copper boundary – copper reacts with slug and snail slime and causes a low-level shocks to the slug or snail when they come into contact
Certain essential oils such as peppermint, pine, cedarwood and hyssop are said to effectively repel slugs and snails. Mix a few drops of these oils with water in a spray bottle and regularly spray your plants with this mixture in order to deter these creatures
Garlic spray – blend raw garlic (approximately 1 bulb) and water together in a blender, put solution into a spray bottle and spray onto plants every two weeks, or when you notice that the previous spray is no longer preventing slug invaders
Petroleum jelly (vasoline) can be rubbed around plant pots to deter slugs and snails.