It’s hot!

Here are some ways in which you can help your garden’s wildlife through the heatwave.

Water
Put out water in a shallow dish for your garden’s birds and insects, and any visiting mammals. Place some small stones in the centre of the dish to help insects to drink safely.
Saturate a sandy path or a patch of dirt somewhere to create a butterfly drinking fountain. Butterflies sip water from shallow puddles of water in mud or sand.
Top up the bird bath regularly. Birds need to bathe frequently in hot, dusty weather to keep cool and to ensure their feathers are in good condition.
Your pond will need frequent topping up, too. If your rain barrel is empty, use tap water, adding little and often. Make a ramp so that visiting mammals can reach the water – and be sure that they can climb out if they fall in.

Food
Fill up your garden bird feeders and try to hang them in shade.
Insectivores, both birds and mammals, go hungry as their insect prey hides away from the sunshine so consider providing mealworms for them.
Hedgehogs struggle in hot weather when worms head downwards in search of cool moist soil and slugs are less likely to come out because it is so dry. Now is the time to put out food for hedgehogs.

Shelter
Think about shelter. All our native amphibians, frogs, toads and newts, will be desperate for shelter from the sun: stones and rocks, woodpiles, stacks of old flowerpots and tall grass make good cover. Add a sprinkling of water occasionally to keep the hiding places as moist as possible
Be untidy. Wilder gardens will provide shelter for a wider range of wildlife. There will be welcome shade beneath overgrown shrubs and damp places to hide under the clutter beside the shed.

Stay safe, go carefully and don’t forget your hat.

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