Spring is arguably the most exciting season of the year. The busy season sees nature start to awaken after a long winter slumber. As trees begin to grow leaves, plants start to flower and animals such as chicks and lambs are born. 

Spring is also one of the busiest times for breeding, so finding a mate is the number one goal for wildlife at this time of year. Read on as we take a look at some of the spring animals and birds to look out for this spring…


The all-important bumblebees start to emerge in March as we begin to welcome warmer weather. Queen bees start to come out from their underground nests and begin the search for fresh pollen and nectar, to regain strength after their fat stores have been depleted. The Queen bee will then start the hunt to find a suitable nesting site such as ground holes, bird boxes and tussocky grass.

You can find bees in hedgerows and gardens. Why not introduce a wildflower bed into your garden to attract insects and create a spring haven?


After a long hibernation, male hedgehogs will usually emerge first out of their winter nesting sites and they will be looking for the perfect mate to start breeding.

During hibernation, hedgehogs live almost entirely off fat reserves, meaning they regularly have to forage for up to two miles a night in search of food during spring. That’s why it’s important to regularly leave out fresh water and hedgehog food to help our spiky friends replenish their fat stores. Why not leave a bowl of WildThings Hedgehogs Food out in a quiet corner of your garden each evening? You will soon have regular hedgehog visitors if you do.

Hedgehogs are nocturnal, so look out for them during the evening in your garden; especially in piles of leaves or logs.

Try to keep your garden hedgehog friendly during this time, making sure you leave piles of leaves or log piles for them to make their nests. You can also make a hedgehog highway for them to be able to pass through your garden on their night-time forages.


An icon of British springtime, swallows start to arrive back into the country in March after their epic 10,000km flight from the southern tip of Africa, across the savannah and Sahara desert.

Swallows will start to gather nest material shortly after their arrival and will begin building their nests in a variety of locations, from caves to the eaves of buildings.

Probably one of the easier animals to spot swallows can most likely be found in your neighbourhood. You can lend a hand to the weary travellers by planting insect-friendly flowers in your garden.

Badger cubs

Female badgers or ‘sows’ typically give birth to their cubs in February. The next six weeks are spent growing in the safety of their sett. In mid-March, they begin to emerge, gradually exploring tunnels and chambers (badgers live in a system of interconnected tunnels and chambers called a sett) as they gain confidence.

As we reach mid-to-late April, badger cubs make their first visits to the outside world, closely protected by their mother. You will see them at night in open grasslands and they most likely will be playing boisterously with their brothers and sisters. If you are lucky enough to have badgers in your area, why not leave out some WildThings Badger and Fox food to help them grow stronger?

Common toad

Spring is one of the best times to spot a toad. Although they typically stay in water during the spring breeding season (where they will go to lay their eggs) both frogs and toads tend to travel at night to spawn. These late-night trips can make for hazardous journeys across roads and towns.

Look out for jelly-like frog spawn in local ponds and ditches; often, several clusters merge to form a mass. You can start looking out for them as early as February, as toads are breeding earlier each year like many other animals.

What animals have you spotted so far this spring? Head over to our social channels to tell us more or even better, share your pictures!

hedgehog hiding in autumn leavesIf there’s one thing that’s for sure; there’s nothing cuter than a teeny, tiny hedgehog. These enchanting creatures have it all; they’re totally adorable, a bit mysterious in their ways and a great garden visitor to have. We’re willing to bet there’s a few things you don’t know about these prickly little critters. Read on for the top 10 things you didn’t know about hedgehogs:

1. Their table manners aren’t the best

If you’ve ever heard a hedgehog eating, it may come as a surprise that they chew so loudly! Next time the tiny creature visits your garden, listen out for that telltale sound of them enjoying their dinner.

2. Shakespeare was a fan

Referring to them as ‘hedgepins’ and ‘urchins’, William Shakespeare has included hedgehogs in plays such as The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. If Shakespeare is a fan then so are we!

3. They have A LOT of spines

It may come as a surprise but adult hedgehogs have at least 5,000 spines. 5,000 spines of prickly cuteness to be exact. They even have a small tail, which is generally hidden by the needles so a lot of people don’t know it’s there.

4. They like to do the rounds

That hedgehog you’ve affectionately named Steve might not be the regular you think he is. Hedgehogs like to visit different gardens each evening, so Steve might actually be Jack or Harry.

5. Their favourite food is insects

Hedgehogs enjoy beetles, caterpillars, earthworms and slugs, making them the ideal garden visitor. Say goodbye to those pesky insects when Steve/Jack/Harry is in town! To supplement their natural diet, you can also buy hedgehog food from WildThings. These little critters can’t get enough of it!

6. They like things messy

Good news; creating a safe space for hedgehogs is a great excuse to not trim your hedges. These critters love wild and overgrown greenery, as it offers them a safe space to nest. If there comes a time when you do need to do a bit of garden maintenance, especially in the winter, keep an eye out for any hibernating hedgehogs.

7. They sleep A LOT

Hedgehogs hibernate between November and March and need a soft cosy place to remain warm through the winter. Their favourite places to go down for the long nap are beneath garden sheds, under bushwood and snuggled up under bountiful garden hedges.

8. Their eyesight isn’t the best

It’s true, hedgehogs can’t see very well at all. To make up for this, their sense of smell and hearing are both exceptional. This enables them to find a safe place to nest, avoid predators and sniff out a tasty treat.

9. They’re lactose intolerant

If you want to leave a drink out for your garden visitor, you’re probably best staying clear of milk. Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant which means they struggle to digest lactose, the main carbohydrate in dairy products. Opt for clean, fresh water instead.

10. They have strong personalities

When it comes to hedgehogs, you never know what you’re going to get. Some are charming and sociable, while others may be much more wary and want their own space. It’s important that you respect each individual hedgehog’s boundaries so you don’t frighten them. Your best bet is making sure they have plenty of food to eat and going in for a cautious pet once you’ve established a relationship.

According to a survey completed by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) and People’s Trust for Endangered Species, the population of wild hedgehogs has halved in the last decade, with less than a million hedgehogs existing in the UK today.

Why is this happening?

There are multiple contributing factors as to why our spiky friends are in decline in the UK. Some of these include:

  • Destruction of habitat – Hedgehogs thrive in hedgerows, and as we growingly use land for human resource, i.e. housing, farmland, roads, more and more disruption occurs to wildlife and in particular, hedgehogs.
  • Excessive use of pesticides – These are very harmful to invertebrates which provide a valuable food source for hedgehogs.
  • Garden fences – Hogs need to have access to gardens to look for food. However, many of us now have fences in place which stop hogs from entering our gardens completely, therefore they have no option but to navigate the roads.
  • Busy roads – Sadly, a lot of our hedgehogs are suffering fatalities as a result of our busy, intrusive roads.

How can we help?

In order to help our native hogs thrive again, the best place to start is in your own garden. By completing the steps below, you can ensure that you are doing your bit to secure the future of these iconic creatures:

  1. Cultivate a wild corner in your garden to make your hedgehog feel at home. It will love to hide and also to look for wild food sources.
  2. Avoid using slug pellets and other strong pesticides if possible. These are extremely harmful to hedgehogs.
  3. Leave a ramp or slope out of your pond so hogs can climb out
  4. Avoid handling baby hogs unless orphaned, as the mother will abandon them. If you do have to handle a sick or injured hedgehog, ensure you are wearing protective gloves i.e. gardening gloves or thick plastic ones
  5. Hogs seen in daylight are usually hungry, thirsty or ill. When in doubt, contact your local hedgehog hospital
  6. Leave food and water out in shallow dishes each evening at dusk
  7. If you have a fully fenced garden, ensure that you create a ‘hedgehog highway’ by cutting a small hole in the bottom of your fence so that hedgehogs can come and go as they please.

Further advice and info on hedgehogs

If you would like any further information on how you can help our UK hogs, or you have found a hedgehog in your garden which you suspect needs your assistance, contact the British Hedgehog Preservation Society on 01584 890801.