Hedgehogs – they need you!

January 22nd 2016
By: Melanie Hollidge

It’s been lovely having so much mild weather this winter, but unfortunately it’s not so wonderful for our prickly garden friend, the hedgehog. The warm weather has meant that many have not gone into hibernation, resulting in them being undernourished and confused.
Hedgehogs will normally go into hibernation between November and March, but because of the warm weather many have not done so. Normally a hedgehog will work hard to build up brown fat that their body will use during a hibernation period, this is a period when a hedgehog will go into deep sleep, with their bodies living off their brown fat reserves - but this year they haven’t been able to forage for enough food because their food supply has been depleted by the heavy rain. Many fear that the recent cold snap will have forced underweight hedgehogs into hibernation, which means that they might not have enough fat to see them through this dormant time, which could result in them dying.   
So here’s how you can help:
So how can you tell if a hedgehog needs your help? - If you see a hedgehog in the daytime this is normally an indicator to show that a hedgehog is in distress. You will need to pick it up with garden gloves and place it in a high-sided cardboard box, so that it can’t escape – then cover it up with a towel or a fleece.
Try giving the hedgehog some cat or dog food –as well as some fresh water.
If you have a hot water bottle, fill it up and wrap it in a towel and place it into the bottom of the box so that the hedgehog has a nice gentle heat to keep it warm. Make sure you keep the bottle warm as a cold bottle could do more harm than good, then put the box in a quiet place in your home. Then call the British Hedgehog Preservation Society on 01584 890 801 for further advice and local contact numbers.