Some of the really large hedgehogs may go into hibernation this month but the smaller hedgehogs will still need to put on weight. The colder weather makes some of the hedgehogs’ natural food become less active and eventually disappears, so putting out extra food for the hedgehogs can be a lifesaver. It is not the cold that will kill these juveniles but the lack of food brought about by the cold, so even in really cold weather they will have to continue to forage.
Do take care when raking up leaves and tidying your garden. Check there are no hedgehogs in pile of rubbish that you intend to bin or burn. If you can perhaps leave a pile of leaves in a sheltered dry spot for a hedgehog to use. Other creatures may also use it e.g. a toad perhaps. The birds also like to turn the leaves over looking for worms and other invertebrates. If you are clearing any drains of leaves try to find a cover for the drain to stop both leaves and hedgehogs from falling into that drain. Make sure any netting from the Runner Beans, fruit trees etc. is stored away safely so hedgehogs cannot become tangled in it. There can be so many dangers for hedgehogs in our gardens and if there is something to get caught up in then the hedgehog is sure to find it. Have a look at our ”Gardening with Hedgehogs” leaflet on our web site.
People often say to me hedgehogs are full of fleas. I have to say that when I started to rehabilitate hedgehogs over 20 years ago this was the case. However this no longer seems to be the case. Many of the hedgehogs taken in by rescue centres do not have fleas, some will of course, but a large proportion do not. This is a worry because will the cause of the flea decline work its way up the chain and eventually affect hedgehogs. If you want to find out more about hedgehogs visit the British Hedgehog Preservation Society’s web site at www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk We have a leaflet called “Autumn Juveniles” that you may find of help and interest at this time of year.
If you find a hedgehog needing help or if you need more advice call the BHPS on 01584 890801 – it is better to be safe than sorry.