Friday, 17 October 2014

Hedgehogs in November - British Hedgehog Preservation Society

November is highly significant for our hedgehogs for two reasons. The first is Bonfire night (week) and the other is for hibernation, with many going into hibernation around mid-November.

November 5th comes first so please do take extra care when checking bonfires. It is far better to collect the materials for the fire and only put them into place on the day it is to be lit. Those built before the day can attract hedgehogs, so should be inspected before lighting. If possible lift the materials around the bottom edge of the pile using a broom handle or similar and check for extra piles of leaves or you may even see the hedgehog itself. A disturbed hedgehog may also make a hissing sound (like a snake) to try to intimidate those disturbing it.  Start by lighting one side of the bonfire and allow the quiet side, i.e. the side with the least people standing around, to remain unburnt for a few minutes as this may allow an escape route for any missed hedgehogs.

If you find a hedgehog put it in a high sided box with some meat based cat food and a towel to snuggle under. Put it in a quiet place and once the noise etc. has died down release the hedgehog with its dish of food. However if the hedgehog is on the small side and you are able to weigh please weigh and if under 600 grams contact your local hedgehog carer for advice.
Depending on the weather and how far north you are will depend on when those larger hedgehogs will go into hibernation. Mid November is about the time many will choose. Those that do not hibernate (autumn juveniles), particularly when the weather turns colder will need extra help. 

Regular visitors should be able to cope provided extra food is always put out every evening.  Weighing them regularly should ensure there is a weight gain. If there is a problem e.g. out in the day or there is only a small weight gain or it is still considered too small to hibernate and the weather is closing in then contact your local hedgehog carer of the the BHPS for details of a local hedgehog rehabilitator. In addition those wandering without a regular supply of food and especially when there are frosts expected will struggle to find any natural food, so they too will need to be rescued. So if you find a hedgehog you've not seen around before weigh it and call for advice.

If you are concerned about any hedgehog, or you see one out in the day, contact the British Hedgehog Preservation Society on 01584 890801 (if you can weigh the hedgehog first that is always helpful, but do use gloves when you handle them). For more information about hedgehogs and how to help them, including a leaflet on autumn juveniles visit the BHPS website.