Be Warned – Hedgehogs Drown in Garden Ponds

You may not see them doing it very often but hedgehogs can swim, in fact they’re good swimmers.

Despite this fact many hedgehogs drown in domestic garden ponds for the simple reason that once they get in they can’t get out.

The primary reason for this is that garden ponds often have unnatural man-made sides. Overhanging brickwork, slippery plastic liners and steep sides can all prove an insurmountable barrier to a hedgehog.

A hedgehog.
Under threat. Hedgehogs are in decline, don’t let your pond add to the burden.

Make Your Pond Hedgehog safe

If you’re installing a new pond then the best thing you can do is make sure the sides of the pool are not too steep. Better still you could consider making one side of your pond slope gently to form a beach. This not only provides a perfect escape route for hedgehogs but shallow waters are also very beneficial to many other forms of garden life.

But, if you already have a pond and you’re worried about the threat to visiting hedgehogs then your going to need to provide a means of escape. Here’s a few options you could consider to help prevent hedgehogs drowning in your garden pond.

1. Rocks

Use one big stone or a pile of rocks or bricks placed in the water against the side of your pond to form a step up for hedgehogs.

2. Plant Pots

Instead of piles of rock and stone you could place large aquatic planters full of plants at the edges of your pond. As long as the top of the pot provides an intermediate platform that a hedgehog can use to bridge the gap between the water surface and the top of your pond banks it will do the trick. The advantage here is that the plants will form a natural looking platform that the hedgehog can push through to escape.

3. A Ramp

Another option is to place a plank of wood with one end on the pond floor and the other resting on the pond bank. This provides a bridge for your spikey visitors to climb to freedom.

It is important to ensure that the plank is secured so that it doesn’t slip over when being used, a heavy stone placed on the bottom of the plank should achieve what you need.

Bear in mind also that if the plank is too steep or gets covered with slippery algae it may still be difficult for some hedgehogs to use. To avoid this provide some sort of grip to the upper side of the plank by cutting in grooves or attaching thin wood struts.

A old garden pond with steep slippery sdies.
Hedgehogs can drown in garden ponds and this is a prime example. This old pond has very steep slippery sides that could prove too much for a hedgehog.

Be Careful What you Put in Your Pond

Whatever you use to give your hedgehogs an escape route always make sure that what you use is pond safe. For example, soft furnishings such a cushions, material or carpet can be very hazardous as they often contain fire retardant treatment chemicals. If you put these into your pond then the chemicals will be absorbed into the water and potentially kill the life in your pond.

If in doubt leave it out. Try to stick to rocks, stone, wood or other natural materials.

Sadly hedgehogs are in steep and steady decline and need all the help they can get so if anyone else has any good ideas please let us know using the comments section below.

16 thoughts on “Be Warned – Hedgehogs Drown in Garden Ponds”

  1. Wish I read this advice sooner I found 2 young drowned hedgehogs in my pond also today I discovered another in the drain it appears to have pushed aside the cover and fell in.

  2. Feel so irresponsible. Just found the adorable young hedgehog drowned in our pond that was with us for 2 days. Just awful. I think the plank I put in was not stable enough. Can’t stop crying. Thanks for your article.

  3. Hi Carol, the same thing happened to me, it’s very upsetting but you shouldn’t blame yourself, it’s just an unfortunate accident. To make a difference I decided to make it my mission going forward to warn everyone I meet who has a pond of the dangers…hence this article.

  4. Hi Carol the same happened to me as well last night.Me and my grand daughter found 2 young hedgehogs drown in my pond.I thought I had made safe escapes but bless them they must have been to steep for them.I feel so guilty and couldn’t stop crying either.The information in the article is so helpful.I am hoping to change the pond to have a beach but meanwhile going to add more pots,stones and more ladders.Thanks Michelle.

  5. Thank you very much for this useful article. We moved a while back to a house in France and inherited a pond with it. We hadn’t paid too much attention to it but we were absolutely delighted to spot a hedgehog in the garden a few times in the autumn. Distraught to find two large hedgehogs in the pond this morning when retrieving a ball for the dog. If only we had thought about it. Of course it makes absoute sense now. My husband and I are so dismayed that we didn’t think. It’s a bit late now but will do something immediately based on your article, just in case there are any more lovely hérisson wandering about.
    Thanks, Margaret

  6. Devastated, just found the 2 Hedgehog’s that were chatting to each other so loudly under our bird feeders last night dead in our pond. I was just waiting for them to come for their tea and they were late so went out to look for them. I feel so bad I’m going to fill the pond in tomorrow. This is the 3rd hedgehog I’ve lost to that bloody pond.

  7. This year we have three hoglets (?) as well as adult/s visiting and/or living in the hedgehog house we installed last year. Although we haven’t had any fatalities, we were going to fill our pond in just in case, until I came to start and realised the pond was home to frogs, a newt, etc etc. We’ve put stones at one end and a ramp so I’m hoping we can help to provide homes for all. We just love watching the nightly visits. They and the birds are my pet replacements after years of dogs, cats, rabbits…….

  8. I wish I had read this yesterday as a hedgehog drown in my pond Saturday, only to discover that there was another in my pond this morning drown again.
    Going to sort this out ASAP.
    Feel so sad ? I could have stopped this…

  9. Thank you for this article, unfortuately we have also learned the hard way….. just in the process of restoring our pond, it was half filled with water but hadn’t added the plants or rocks. This morning found a drowned hedgehog, which we think was our rescue hedgehog from the winter. We all feel devastated and so sad.

  10. Thanks for this informative article. We have many hedgehog visitors – we are just about to build a garden pond, so will definitely follow this advice to keep our hogs safe ?

  11. I am reading this and crying at the same time, I read all the advice and have put a strutted ladder in and a big rock and the bottom and a long branch the other side so you can climb out plus five pots of of plants for pond it was my dream pond in April, today after finding one of my big hedgehogs drowned, after finding her two babies a couple of weeks back, I want to fill the pond in. Its filled with two toads loads of insects and the birds love it But i have lost a friend who I have been bring food out to every evening for nearly two years I just don’t know what I have done wrong I am really devastated

    • Hey Jaqui if u need someone too chat about it too I’m here contact me anything I know this was a while ago but no one replied too u and I just want too say how sorry n I am I have read your story it touched me and I feel very much for you. God bless and be safe it’s not your fault and u could have never seen it coming much love bye


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