Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Hedgehogs in February by Kay Bullen (BHPS)

Surprisingly there may still be a few hedgehogs around this month especially where people put out food regularly. This extra food allows the smaller hedgehogs to decide when they are ready to hibernate rather than be forced into a hibernation because of lack of food. However, some of the smaller hedgehogs will not have sufficient fat stored to allow them to even contemplate hibernation and the extra food is a real-life saver for them.

Tidying the garden
Do take care when tidying the garden, piles of leaves and compost heaps may well be providing sanctuary for hibernating hedgehogs.  Some hedgehogs hibernate in pampas grass so burning the grass to remove the dead leaves can be very dangerous for them, indeed any burning in the garden should be undertaken with caution.

What to do if you find a hedgehog 
If you should find a hedgehog out in the day, particularly if it is wobbling or has fallen asleep in the open, this is some basic first aid for it. It needs to go into a high-sided box, use a piece of towel or similar to pick it up without getting prickled and bring the box indoors. Cover a hot water bottle with a towel (use warm/hot water so as not to scald the hedgehog but to provide a nice gentle heat) and place the hedgehog on this leaving the cloth you that you used to pick it up covering it. It can have some meat-based dog or cat food and a dish of water.  Don’t forget to keep changing the water in the bottle as if allowed to go cold it will do more harm than good. If you don’t have a hot water bottle use a plastic milk carton or drinks bottle and loosely wrap a towel around the hedgehog and bottle to keep them together, remember this will lose heat more quickly than a hot water bottle so keep changing the water or swapping the bottles. Make sure the water isn’t hot enough to damage a plastic bottle, but warm enough to offer some heat for the hedgehog.

Where to find help 

If you are concerned about any hedgehogs you should 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 (follow link above). 

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