The best ways to look after British wildlife
A reliance on fossil fuels has left our British wildlife under serious threat. Drilling for oil risks destroying the habitats of thousands of species in the UK, and intensive farming has left many species of wildlife without access to shelter and food.
But there’s still plenty you can do to help – here are the best ways to look after British wildlife.
You can create shelter for wildlife in your garden just by leaving patches of it undisturbed. Piles of leaves, long grass and compost piles all make great habitats for animals, especially those that hibernate in the colder months.
Leave food out
During the colder seasons, some wildlife species find it particularly difficult to find enough food to sustain them until Spring. Put a small amount of food out to help garden wildlife stay plump during the colder months. Just avoid leaving too many supplies, or your guests could end up dependant on you for their dinner.
Try leaving these tasty treats to attract garden visitors:
Fruit. Chopped apples and berries are great for blackbirds and thrushes, and they’ll also attract squirrels and badgers.
Nuts. Bird feeders full of unsalted nuts and seeds are a great way to bring birds into your garden all year round. Squirrels will also be grateful for a store of hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds.
Cheese. Believe it or not, foxes and badgers will do anything to get their hands on a bit of cheddar. Just make sure you’re not encouraging them to cross busy roads in search of their next dairy fix.
Meat and vegetables. Foxes, squirrels and badgers will all be grateful for a plate of veggies – carrots, boiled potatoes and spinach are perfect. And foxes and badgers also enjoy lightly cooked meat or chicken, so you can leave these out if you have any leftovers.
If you’re looking for information on what hedgehogs eat, check out our blog post on how to create a hedgehog friendly garden.
Provide fresh water
It’s important that wildlife has access to clean water, so be sure to leave out saucers for hedgehogs, foxes, squirrels, badgers and other small mammals to drink from.
A bird bath is a good way to provide visiting birds with plenty to drink, and a place to wash. Just make sure it doesn’t freeze over in colder weather.
Dig a pond
A garden pond is the perfect habitat for frogs and toads, and it’s also a great place for hedgehogs to go for a swim. A pond can also help bats in the winter, as it’ll encourage insects into your garden for them to eat.
Make sure you build some sloping sides for your visitors to scramble back out again, and collect rain in a water butt to keep your pond topped up.
If your pond freezes over in the cold weather, it’s important to make a hole for toxins to escape – but don’t use boiling water to defrost it, because this could kill any wildlife living in the water. Pop a pan of hot water on the surface and wait for it to thaw instead.
Letting your garden grow wild is a great way to encourage wildlife into your garden and give some land back to nature. It provides nesting spots, shelter and habitats for animals and insects – and the long grass may even welcome in a slow-worm or two.
If you don’t want to let your whole garden go wild, just leave a corner of your lawn untouched. You can find out more about the benefits of letting your garden grow wild in the video below.
Updated: 18 September 2019
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