Help hedgehogs, squirrels and birds survive the cold winter months

The sight of a hedgehog during the day could mean it's home has been disturbed
The sight of a hedgehog during the day could mean it's home has been disturbed

You can help wildlife survive the cold months ahead.

Many species of British wild animals will visit gardens to seek out food, water and shelter this winter and there are a few simple things you can do to help them.

A  great way to assist squirrels in the garden is to collect horse chestnuts and leave a pile in a tree

A great way to assist squirrels in the garden is to collect horse chestnuts and leave a pile in a tree

A spokesman for outdoor specialists BillyOh.com said: “It was a fantastic summer for UK wildlife with record temperatures across the country. But now the days are shorter and the leaves haven fallen.

“Many gardeners may be surprised to learn that they can play a vital part in helping local wildlife survive the harsh weather.

“Just by following a few easy tips they can make life a lot less stressful for the wild birds and animals who visit their gardens.”

Here’s the wildlife you can help:

Squirrels

A great way to assist squirrels in the garden is to collect horse chestnuts and leave a pile in a tree, on a garden structure or at the edge of the lawn.

Other great supplements for their natural diet include pine and hazelnuts, seeds such as sunflower and apples and carrots. Squirrels will also appreciate a bowl of water being left in the garden, especially if there are no natural sources nearby.

Also provide a place that they can hide from predators, especially in urban areas where many trees have been felled over the decades.

Modify a disused garden building or construct something in, on or around the shed from recycled rubbish such as old furniture.

See also:

Here’s how to help birds survive the winter in your garden

These are the creepy crawlies that seek out toasty homes during the winter

You can help compile a list of Sussex hedgehog sightings

Hedgehogs

They traditionally hibernate from November through the winter but hedgehogs can stay active in milder weather. The later hedgehogs are out, the further diminished their food sources will be, so it is advised to leave a plate of food on the lawn at night to assist their survival.

Hedgehogs will happily eat tinned dog or cat food (or crushed pet biscuits), as long as it isn’t fish-based.

As they are nocturnal creatures, the sight of a hedgehog during the day could mean it’s home has been disturbed; assist be providing leaves, twigs and grass clippings in an accessible place.

Opening up a disused shed can also be a great place for hedgehogs to sleep before they enter hibernation.

Spiders

The easiest way to make a garden appeal to spiders is to provide shelter from bad weather; this could be as simple as cutting an entrance into an shoe box or piling some old wood.

They will be thankful for a source of water and will also welcome grass clipping or leaves being tossed onto bare soil between plants.

Birds

Birds will be attracted by the opportunity to drink, bathe and feed, so pour tap water into a bird bath, or any shallow bowl, and fill specialised bird feeders, or another dish, with appropriate food, generally nuts, seeds or suet.