Hedgehogs used to be one of the most familiar sites in UK gardens, but it appears that their numbers are rapidly dwindling, with a new survey revealing that 51 per cent of people didn’t see a hedgehog once in 2016.

Carried out by BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, the survey also found that just 12 per cent said they saw a hedgehog regularly. However, nearly two-thirds of those asked said they’d also taken action to protect hedgehogs in the last 12 months, using slug pellets, checking for them before lighting bonfires or strimming, and leaving twigs and leaves out to provide shelter, the Guardian reports.

You can help to protect the species by turning your garden into a wildlife haven. Why don’t you think about creating a hedgehog highway by cutting a hole in your fence or digging beneath your garden boundaries with your neighbours so that all gardens are connected. This will help hedgehogs roam far enough to look for nesting sites, mates and food.

You could even build a specific home for hedgehogs in your garden. Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust has a helpful how-to guide to show you how easy this is – all you need is some wood and some nails to create a box, then pile logs around it and cover it in earth to keep the hedgehogs warm and provide a habitat for insects that these funny little critters love to eat.

Growing different plants can also really help, so letting your garden get a bit wild might not be a bad idea either.

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