Hedgehogs are fascinating creatures, well known for their spines and their nocturnal habits. As urbanisation increases in the UK and the natural habitats of these creatures shrink, an ever-growing concern on the minds of many Brits is the potential harm this could cause to our prickly friends. Consequently, to better understand their behaviour and determine how we can safely interact with them, let's delve into the question: can hedgehogs climb wooden fences?

What Are Hedgehog Highways?

Hedgehog highways are not your typical asphalt roads but rather small openings in fences and walls that provide a passage for hedgehogs to travel from one garden to another. These highways play a pivotal role in hedgehogs' ability to find food, shelter, and mates, as they can cover distances of 1-2 kilometres in search of these essentials.

A significant milestone was reached in 2019 when the UK government mandated that all new build homes must incorporate hedgehog highways into their design, leading to an extensive network of these wildlife corridors nationwide.

Climbing Abilities of Hedgehogs

As for the question of climbing abilities, hedgehogs can climb, albeit not as efficiently or with the same ease as some other species such as squirrels. They possess relatively short legs and lack the dexterity that would enable them to scale fences easily. With that said, hedgehogs have been known to attempt climbing wooden fences, especially in the search for food or shelter.

Due to their limited climbing capacities, leaving gaps or holes in wooden fences can go a long way in helping hedgehogs traverse their environment. It is therefore crucial to ensure that there are proper hedgehog highways installed, as this not only protects hedgehogs from predators, but also prevents incidents where they may become stuck or injured while attempting to scale a fence.

How to Help Hedgehogs in Your Garden

If you'd like to make your garden more hedgehog-friendly, consider the following steps:

  1. Create a passage in fences or walls by making a hole measuring at least 13x13cm.
  2. Provide shelter for hedgehogs by leaving a small pile of leaves or logs in a quiet corner of the garden.
  3. Offer food sources such as mealworms, but avoid milk or bread as these are harmful to hedgehogs.
  4. Reduce the use of pesticides and slug pellets, as hedgehogs are natural pest controllers.
  5. Provide a shallow dish of water to keep hedgehogs hydrated.

In Conclusion

While hedgehogs do possess some climbing abilities, it is not one of their natural strengths. With the introduction of hedgehog highways in new builds, more can be done to help these fascinating creatures navigate their urban environments safely. By promoting awareness and understanding of hedgehog behaviour, and making a few simple adjustments in our gardens, we can help to create a more accommodating habitat that supports the continued flourishing of hedgehog populations in the UK.