A robot mower in an animal friendly garden - impossible?
Robot lawn mowers are becoming increasingly popular. But in a cultivated garden hedgehogs can also make their acquaintance, often with consequences for the animals. Even insects can suffer from the use of a robot grass cutter. But it doesn't take much effort from you to ensure the welfare of the animals.
It is very good news if a hedgehog (or a hedgehog family) has taken up residence in your garden. They are great helpers in pest control as they mainly eat insects, larvae, slugs, and worms. Hedgehogs are also always an indicator that the surrounding ecosystem is intact - what more could you want for your garden? As their natural habitat is increasingly threatened by modern agriculture, the small prickly animals are already on the Red List of endangered species. For lack of alternatives, they are often drawn to gardens in inhabited areas.
Hedgehogs prefer to live in dense woods, bushes, or tall grass (if you don't know whether hedgehogs live in your garden, you can download building instructions for a hedgehog footprint tracking tunnel). So their retreats are limited. Keep an eye out for them and lay the boundary wire of your robot lawn mower a little distance away from them. But above all, their natural habits can help us to protect hedgehogs: they are nocturnal and go in search of food as soon as it dawns. Let your robot drive in the morning, so the robot grass cutter and hedgehogs won't get in each other's way. By the way, Worx offers a special “protect hedgehogs” function within the app. Last but not least: check your garden every now and then to see if you have any new inhabitants. You probably check your garden regularly anyway to ensure that your robot lawn mower doesn't encounter unexpected, damaging obstacles.
Besides hedgehogs, there are other animals endangered by the use of robot lawn mowers. Thanks to the regular careful work of the robot mower, insects - such as bees - search in vain for blossoms. And the "wild" plants which are necessary for diversity are no longer present. So we deprive many species of the basis of life through the use of our robotic helper.
Not only garden insects are affected: Also reptiles and amphibians suffer from the use of robot grass cutters. They, too, are nocturnal animals and can fall victim to a lawn mowing night session. As alternate breeders, they sometimes cannot react quickly enough to escape a robot lawn mower. Same as hedgehogs or insects, they depend on natural areas in the garden.
But aesthetics and animal welfare can be combined. And perhaps even resulting in a richer, more diverse garden. Nothing is mutually exclusive in an animal friendly garden: The well-kept and perfectly maintained garden, where children can play barefoot, can be complemented by natural areas. In turn, wildflowers can be found and adults as well as children can enjoy butterflies and bees. Eventually, all that is needed is to cut out a few corners that the robot mower does not regularly maintain. This can be done by carefully laying the boundary wire or by using special devices to demarcate areas (e.g. the virtual fences Off Limits from Worx).
Diversity and natural beauty merge in an animal friendly garden. By no means this is in contrast to a well-kept lawn, aesthetically arranged flower beds or even a playground for young and old. In giving space to both of them, you create zones of comfort for man and animal. It's up to you!