Thursday, 19 May 2016

Hedgehogs in May by Kay Bullen - BHPS

Sadly not all have had a good winter - this is Percy
who is very underweight
Most of the hedgehogs out and about now will hopefully be in good condition and will have replaced any weight losses from their hibernation.

So the next step in the hedgehog calendar is the breeding season. Courtship is a noisy affair with lots of huffing and puffing and circling around (the male circles the female). Once completed the pair will part company and perhaps never meet again. After a pregnancy of around 32 days 4-5 hoglet will be born in a nursery nest.

It is very important, especially at this time of year, that hedgehog nests are not disturbed.  Disturbance may cause the females to abandon or even kill their hoglets. Nursery nests can be almost anywhere, under an old shed, under clumps of garden plants, even under old rugs or polythene used as a weed suppressor. So if you know you have a hedgehog that is a regular visitors then it is likely to be a female rather than a nomadic male. In which case do take care and perhaps watch at night to see where she is coming from so you have a rough idea of where the nest may be.

Female hedgehogs are often like clockwork, they appear from roughly the same direction at around the same time each night. She may miss a few nights after giving birth preferring to stay with her hoglets night and day.

Sometimes females are seen in the early morning gathering bedding, this could well be a female about to give birth, so again note where she is heading so you know the location of her nest. Perhaps have a word with a neighbour if it appears the nest may be next door. This depends on the neighbour – they are not all wildlife friendly so use your judgement. This is one of the few times when healthy hedgehogs are seen in the day and when they do not need rescuing. They will be busy and moving with purpose - so enjoy the opportunity to observe, whilst not intruding.

If you need advice or find a sick or injured hedgehog contact the British Hedgehog Preservation Society they can give general advice and perhaps details of a local hedgehog rehabilitator that you can contact. Contact them on 01584 890801 or for general advice visit their website 

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