Hot weather is becoming more common. Just last year the UK recorded its hottest temperature ever recorded, at Coningsby in Lincolnshire – just a 40-minute drive away from us here in Louth, Lincolnshire. That day, the 19th July, the mercury hit 40.3’C, a truly sweltering day.
Hot temperatures, such as that day, are very uncomfortable for humans but are potentially deadly for wildlife. Luckily there are a few steps we can take.
Firstly, provide water. Even hot loving species, like butterflies need to drink. A shallow dish on the ground may attract hedgehogs or foxes. By adding small stones to it, bees and butterflies can help themselves too.
Secondly, try and provide some shelter, it’s much cooler out of the sun. Place a pile of logs in a shady corner. You’ll soon have insects making it their home. Heatwaves aren’t usually a good time to trim your garden. Leave things to grow a little to allow shelter from the heat.
Also provide food. Fruits and seeds are all food for different animals. However hot weather will make these wilt so always make sure flowers and fruit plants are well watered. Most crucially, if you feed your garden birds, make sure feeders and bird feeding stations are well stocked.
Try and reduce the heat in your garden. Concrete slabs and artificial lawns absorb the heat during the day and can be 20’C hotter than grass. That is far too hot for us and wildlife to stand on. Why not plant a nice lawn instead.
Plant a native tree if you have the space. Shading from a tree can reduce the temperature by up to 10’C, so will cool both you and wildlife.
This lovely video taken by our colleague, Amy, in her back garden shows a gorgeous fox trying to eat and drink alongside a hedgehog.
While there are many experts to help humans survive the heat, let’s pull together and help the animal kingdom endure rising temperatures.
Written by Angela.