Winter 2015 Seasonal Advice
Hedgehogs are still building up their weights for hibernation. Many people ask - When will they actually hibernate? The best answer to this question is - when they are ready depending on their weight and the weather. Some may be in hibernation now, others not until next month that said November seems to be when they hibernate.
Take care when piling up leaves and garden waste ready for a fire. It is always best to move the pile on the day it is to be burnt to ensure no hedgehogs are sleeping underneath
If you still have any small hedgehogs regularly visiting your garden you could catch them and check their weights. Mark each one with a spot of nail varnish or quick drying paint on a few of their prickles (different hedgehogs can be marked in different places). Then 4-5 nights later catch again and weigh – it must be putting on weight, if not it will need to be rescued. Small hedgehogs will need help to get up to a hibernation weight. However the help can range from simply continuing to feed and monitor weights in your garden to being taken indoors or to a rescue centre and cared for.
It is not just the cold that is a problem for hedgehogs at this time of year but also the wet. They need a dry place to make their nests and dry bedding with which to make the nest. Providing dry bedding eg leaves – perhaps in a compost bag – will help them make a cosy nest. Also protecting their food with a feeding station means they can feed in the dry.
Other Hedgehog Hazards
- Pesticides - Including slug pellets, and having a hedgehog will help with slug problems!
- Mowing and strimming – carefully check edges before strimming or better still leave these hedgehog friendly areas to be more natural.
- Netting - Nets for fruit, tennis, football etc. can trap hedgehogs very easily. If you have to use netting, check it daily at least.
- Household rubbish - Cans, yoghurt containers, plastic cups etc and the plastic rings from packs of cans can get trapped over hedgehogs' heads!
- Enclosed gardens prevent hedgehogs interacting and significantly reduce their territories – make gaps or holes in fences to allow hedgehogs to travel through.
And remember - Hedgehogs out in the day are usually in trouble and need help. For any other hedgehogs the best advice is to call a local wildlife or hedgehog rehabilitator such as Oak and Furrows Wildlife Rescue Centre.