The vibrant autumn colours are emerging as we move into the hibernation period for our wildlife.
Before you engage in your seasonal tidy-up, stop and think about vulnerable hibernating wildlife such as bats, hedgehogs and amphibians who need protection from the harsh weather and predators.
They may be seeking out a quiet wild area to create a warm shelter for the duration of the winter.
Bonfires and avid autumn gardening with power tools can pose major threats to garden wildlife. If you come across a ball of leaves you’ve probably found a hedgehog’s winter nest, so put the nest and some of the material back to safety and think about how many slugs your prickly friend will eat in the spring!
Pile small logs or bundles of sticks and leaves into quiet parts of the garden or consider buying a wildlife habitat. A hedgehog house, sited with some weather protection and inviting leaves at the entrance, should increase the chances of getting a tenant for the winter. Hedgehogs also need a good store of body fat to sustain them for the long hibernation period, so provide a good quality specialist supplementary hedgehog food, and of course water, but avoid putting out milk which will make them ill.
Bats can be seen and heard in the night sky in the autumn, well before Halloween. They don’t make roosts themselves but seek crevices where possible, but these are not always available. Adding a bat box located high up with a clear flight path in would do just the job and they devour thousands of midges each night for you.
You may not be aware of the frogs and toads in the undergrowth who are looking for a safe place in which to await the spring. Undisturbed areas of long grass, damp vegetation and logs are perfect shelters so be gentle with your digging.
Just remember there is more to your garden that you can see and having areas for wildlife to overwinter will bring you much joy in the spring. CJ Wildlife stock a range of hibernation boxes and care products for a variety of wildlife as well as foods, feeders and nest boxes for birds.
Shop the CJ Wildlife range via the CJ Wildlife link in the Butterfly Conservation Shop and Butterfly Conservation receives a commission, so not only will you be caring for garden nature, but also helping protect butterflies everywhere.