Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Hedgehogs in June by British Hedgehog Preservation Society

Just under two weeks old - 05/06/17
This is the time of year when we expect most of the first litters of hoglets to be born.  They are going to be very vulnerable.  If anything happens to mum in the first 7-8 weeks then these hoglets are unlikely to survive without help.  They do not come out of the nest to start foraging with mum until they are 4 weeks old.  So any out of the nest under this age are likely to be abandoned and they are coming out in desperation calling for their mother. 

Should you find a dead adult in your neighbourhood, and it is safe to do so, try to determine whether it is a male or female.  They are very similar to dogs and bitches so are easy to sex if they have not been too badly damaged.  The males do not contribute to the rearing of the hoglets so only if it is a female could there be a risk of any hoglets being orphaned.

If you have a nest in your garden and are concerned the mum may have been killed listen for high pitched squeaks and perhaps place a small screwed up piece of paper in the entrance to the nest, this will be pushed aside as any hedgehog exits the nest.  It is best not to disturb the nest unless you are certain the mum will not be returning.  If you are wrong and the nest is occupied and you have pulled it apart the mother may abandon her babies, or even kill them.

If you accidently disturb a nest try to restore it quickly and without too much fuss.  Check with the screwed up piece of paper to see whether mum is returning, they all react differently, some move the babies over several days, a few have been known to kill them whilst other just abandon them.  If the nest is in a place where it cannot be left catch the mother before the babies as she will be the most mobile.  Place her in high sided box with some of the bedding from the nest and then slip her babies in with her.  Contact the BHPS to find a local contact who can advise and if necessary take in the family.  Do not release them somewhere yourself as mum is very likely to abandon them, given the amount of disturbance she has endured.

With any hedgehog in trouble the sooner it is rescued the more chance there is that it will survive.  Hoglets in trouble will be out in the day (or perhaps without mum at night), squeaking, lying in the open (perhaps several huddled together), flies buzzing around them and even large birds taking an interest with them.

If you are concerned about your local visiting hedgehog, need advice or find an orphaned, sick or injured hedgehog contact the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, they can give general advice and perhaps details of a local hedgehog rehabilitator you can contact.  Contact them on 01584 890801 or for general advice visit their web site.