From Bats to Dormice, Hedgehogs to Foxes, our UK mammal population is vital for healthy ecosystems and provides us with a greater connection to nature, improving well-being.

Red Squirrel ForestVole 
Small mammals include insectivores, such as hedgehogs, moles and shrews; and rodents, such as mice and voles. They are found in most types of habitat, as long as there is a supply of food and suitable vegetation to hide in. Most of them are important components of the diets of larger carnivores and birds of prey. Not all species are protected, and the levels of protection vary between species.

The amount of access and proximity to wild areas your green space has will largely affect what kinds of small mammals you will attract. However, you may be surprised how providing a protective space for one species will encourage others!

All British bats eat insects, which makes them a gardener's friend. Each species has its own favourites, but they all need a lot to keep them satisfied as flying uses lots of energy. A pipistrelle bat can eat more than 500 tiny insects in just an hour!

All UK bat species are found in and around trees, woods and hedgerows. Landscapes with trees are crucial for the survival of bats, their feeding habits, roosting and to help them navigate across the landscape. Dense climbers on trees can attract bats and other features such as floral resources, deadwood and water will also benefit bats whose insect prey relies on a wide variety to provide habitat.
Bat Conservation Trust
Follow these simple steps suggested by Bat Conservation Trust to turn your garden into a bat haven:

  • Plant night-scented flowers
  • Build a pond
  • Let your garden go a little wild
  • Put up a bat box
  • Create linear features i.e hedgerows/treelines
  • Reduce or remove artificial lighting
  • Keep cats indoors at night  

How else can I help bats?

Hedgehogs are at risk from loss of Habitats, Regimented Gardening and Gardening Dangers (such as chemical fertilisers, strimmers, loose netting and other gardening tools).

Hedgehog 2
Simple things we can do:

  • Garden Access. All it takes is a 4 to 5" square hole in a gravel board or fence to allow a hedgehog to get into the garden. A hedgehog will travel through around ten or twelve gardens in a night so if you can get some of the neighbours to put the gaps in as well then this creates hedgehog corridors helping them move around gardens to find food and nest sites and it keeps them away from the danger of the road.
  • Let an area grow wild or sow some wildflowers.
  • Plant some shrubs (a mini hedge!). Cover is important for wildlife and shrub cover provides damp, dark areas for insects, a refuge and food opportunities for birds and home and foraging for the hedgehog. Shrubs and hedges also provide safe corridors for wildlife. Bats even use hedges as motorways- following them on their nightly routes as we would a road.
  • Ask your local council to consider letting some verges grow wild and leave some of the grass in parks to grow along with the wild flowers
  • Have a log pile, compost heap. Damp dark areas attract insects and provide food for invertebrates, birds, toads and hedgehogs.

Avoid garden dangers:

  • Avoid chemical fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides. Let nature take care of it instead (frogs and toads are particularly partial to slugs)!
  • Keep netting off the ground (or do away with it all together by planting extra 'sacrificial' produce for wildlife)
  • Build a sloped edge in ponds so that hedgehogs and other wildlife can escape if they fall in.
  • Check for wildlife before working in the garden; be it mowing long grass, strimming, digging, removing old growth or bushes, cutting back, even turning the compost there could be wildlife that has made its home there. A few minutes checking first saves wildlife from stress, injury and often death.
  • Keep the shed door closed and keep tools off the ground! (Including anything sharp or containing chemicals)

How else can I help hedgehogs? 

Wildlife _Garden _-_geograph .org .uk _-_808761
For more ways to get involved check out some of our favourite organisations and projects: