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Wildlife

A young hedgehog

At PAWS, as well as helping you care for your domestic pet, we also want to help you look after the wildlife you might find in your back garden.

 

In Britain, we are extremely lucky to have so much wildlife around us and there are a number of ways we can help the animals that come into our gardens in their hunt for food. The type of garden you have will determine the type of wildlife it will attract. A garden with few plants, trees and grass will attract less wildlife than one with lots of hedges and flowering plants which provide food and shelter. Ponds will attract insects and amphibians, while compost heaps can be a great shelter for hedgehogs.

 
 

Remember that the animals that come into our gardens are wild. We can't tame them, and neither should we try to. All wild animals should be respected.

 

Wild Birds

A robin perched on a branchThere are 592 species of birds native to the British Isles, and gardens are an important habitat for some of these birds, not just for food and shelter, but also for rearing their families. The most likely visitors to your garden will be starlings, house sparrows, blackbirds, blue and great tits, robins, greenfinches and collared doves. It is great fun to spot the different varieties of birds that might visit, and to observe their fascinating behaviour and colours. There is plenty you can do to help encourage and attract them into your garden.

 

Food

Feeding birds in the garden is a popular activity. You can attract birds by providing them with seed mixes, peanuts, suet blocks, insects, meal worms and fat balls. Avoid leaving out milk, mouldy food and biscuits for birds. Leaving out pet food such as cat or dog food can attract larger birds like Magpies and gulls. If this is likely to be a problem, it is best avoided.

 

How to feed

A wild bird on a garden bird feederBird tables are suitable for most species of bird, as is a tray with a raised rim that allows for water drainage and easy cleaning. Nut feeders, made with a steel mesh, are the only safe way of offering nuts to wild birds. The mesh size needs to be large enough to prevent beak damage and small enough to prevent large pieces of nut from being removed. Seed feeders – tube like transparent containers with holes through which the bird can access the food – are ideal for seed mixes, and great for attracting smaller birds.

 

Avoid throwing bird food onto lawns or ground level, as this can attract rats into your garden.

 

  • At PAWS we stock a wide variety of feed and feeders for every type of bird as well as nest boxes and bird tables. Visit our shop to see the type of products on offer.
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Hedgehogs

A hedgehog in the wildThese prickly little creatures are nocturnal and can be found in gardens all over the country. A compost heap or pile of leaves makes a comfy hiding place for a hedgehog, especially between November and March when they hibernate, so be careful when clearing your garden during this period.

 

Diet

  • Slugs
  • Earthworms
  • Beetles

At PAWS we stock Spikes Hedgehog food which is recommended by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.

 

How to attract hedgehogs into your garden

Some people like to leave out milk and bread for hedgehogs, but this can make them ill. Provide a saucer of water and hedgehog food, as this is much more digestible for them. Avoid feeding hedgehogs with dog or cat food as only a few, specific types are suitable food for hedgehogs.

 

As hedgehogs are now on the endangered species list, the provision of food and water, as well as good sheltering places, are even more important to help prevent their decline.

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Badgers

A wild badgerBadgers grow to around 90cm in length and have characteristic black and white stripes on their head. These animals are nocturnal and are rarely seen in urban areas. They spend a lot of their time in their ‘sett’ – a large maze of tunnels and passageways where they live. Nevertheless, during the summer months they sometimes wander into gardens and across roads looking for food.

 

Diet

  • insects
  • fruit
  • nuts
  • bulbs

 

How to attract Badgers into your garden

Put out a tasty nibbly treat of raisins and peanuts

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Squirrels

A grey squirrel

There are two types of squirrel that are native to great Britain – the grey squirrel and the red squirrel. The red squirrel is very rare, so you are far more likely to see the grey squirrel in your garden. The grey squirrel is very active, bounding from tree to tree and scurrying around on the ground looking for food. These animals do not hibernate during the winter months, instead they collect food during the year which they hoard in preparation for winter.

 

Diet

  • fungi
  • bulbs
  • roots
  • acorns

 

How to attract squirrels into your garden

Squirrels like peanuts, hazelnuts and sunflower seeds. At PAWS we stock peanuts in their shell which are popular food for squirrels.

 

Place squirrel feeders next to bushes and hedges, away from bird feeders, to discourage them away from this feeding area where they can become a nuisance.

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Foxes

a foxFoxes are common in both towns and countryside areas, and particularly enjoy foraging for food in rubbish bins, where they can find a wealth of tasty leftovers. Most foxes live in large groups in areas with suitable shelter and a good source of food.

 

Diet

  • small animals and birds
  • fruit
  • berries
  • worms

 

How to attract a fox into your garden

Leave out leftover kitchen scraps and meat in your garden to attract them.

 

Leaving kitchen scraps out for foxes may stop them raiding your bins!

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