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Hedgehog Hints-April 2013

Hints-for-hedgehogsAs the spring settles in, the hedgehogs wake from their hibernation. 2012 was a difficult year for hibernating hedgehogs as the weather didn’t settle into a normal winter plan. It resulted in many hedgehogs being brought into care, due to flooding of their homes and insufficient materials to build them warm enough. During hibernation the hedgehog slows its breathing to one breath every minute and reduces its core body temperature to conserve energy. It uses fat reserves to get through the harsh winter days.

They make their homes under sheds, in hedgerows, in gardens, compost heaps, and garages. They use mud, hay, grass, logs, sticks, paper, plastic; anything they can find for warmth. Not all hedgehogs survive hibernation; it is dependent on their health and their fat reserves which they build up throughout the year.

As the weather warms into spring, the hedgehog will make around five homes, and will spend their time in each throughout the spring and summer. Please check your garden, NEVER use netting, slug or cat pellets. Ensure you gently turn over compost heaps and check areas before strimming the grass! Try to keep an area that has: long grass, bushes, a log pile, places for a hedgehog to hide. Why not build a hedgehog a home? Something that can keep them dry and warm with a 5×5 inch entrance hole, keeping larger animals out. Items such as an old upturned washing up bowl, logs, wooden box, plastic box or a large plant pot can be used. See what you can create! Ensure your garden has access in and out for a hedgehog, a full water bowl and some cat biscuits in that newly built home, will all entice hedgehogs to visit your garden. The hedgehog has a litter of hoglets twice a year, around the months of May and September. They have four – five hoglets each time as their survival rates are low.

Creating a good environment for a hedgehog in your garden, putting water and food out will increase their survival rates, not only for the adults but their babies too.

www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk  for more information or contact Rachel Begley 07810 004 371 if you find a poorly hedgehog