Posted: Friday 13th January 2017 by Victoria Hill
Snowy Winter Wildlife
As we turn up the heating, pop the kettle on for some hot cocoa & get comfy in those extra fluffy winter socks it’s easy to forget that just outside the door, Wildlife has a fight for survival ahead. Let’s take a look at some of the things that you can do yourself to help Wildlife through the winter:
1. Embrace the ‘Wild’ in Your Garden
Let your garden stay wild throughout the winter. Undisturbed piles of leaves and brushwood make great homes for animals to hide, rest and hibernate in.
If you’re using an open fire or log burner to stay warm this winter be sure to carefully check log piles for hibernating hedgehogs and try not to disturb them.
2. Feed the Birds
Through these icy cold months, birds can struggle to build up and keep the body fat they rely on to keep warm.
Help the birds in your garden refuel with full bird feeders – garden birds love seeds, fat balls, dried mealworms or waxworms and even halved apples. Any extra food you can put out for them will make a big difference.
3. Break the Ice on Your Pond
If you have a frozen pond in your garden make sure you gently make holes in the ice. In frozen pond water, toxic gasses build up that can kill fish or frogs that may be hibernating at the bottom.
Never use force or boiling water to break the ice as this could harm or even kill fish living in the pond. You can make a hole in the ice by carefully placing a hot pan of water on the surface.
4. Ensure Fresh Water is Available
Fresh drinking water can be tough for animals to find when the temperature drops, but it’s still essential for them to survive.
Make sure bird baths are ice-free and put out shallow bowls of fresh, clean water for animals to find.
5. Help Your Garden Visitors
Food is scarce in the winter months so putting out small treats can help the animals visiting your garden.
Just remember: only leave small quantities of food so your guests don’t become dependent on handouts, and avoid leaving food that encourages them to cross busy roads.
- Hedgehogs hibernate through the winter, but can occasionally wake early. They love minced meat, tinned dog food (non-fish based), fresh liver and even scrambled eggs! Be aware – although they like milk it can be very bad for them, so it’s best to stick with water.
- Foxes like cheese, chicken carcasses, boiled potatoes, bread and scraps of fat at dusk.
- Squirrels do not hibernate but rely on food that they stored throughout Autumn. You can help make sure they’ve got enough to get through the winter by offering them nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, and almonds) chopped apple, beans, carrots or spinach.
- Badgers’ favourite food is earthworms, which are difficult to find when the ground freezes. You can help them by providing cheese, lightly cooked meats, peanuts, and fruit.
Why not have a go at some winter wildlife activities: