News from Help a Hedgehog Hospital - column by Julien Crowther
WE'VE now passed the Autumnal Equinox and the nights are drawing in fast. Temperatures are still fairly warm so the hedgehogs will be out and about each evening looking for food.
Please continue to put out dry or wet cat food for them as they need all the food they can get at this time of year in order to boost their fat reserves for hibernation.
Don't forget to leave out fresh water as well, as this is vital for all wildlife.
Young hogs born towards the end of the summer will be trying to make their own way now, and you may well find small hedgehogs in your garden.
While they may be perfectly healthy, please pick them up and weigh them, as if they weigh less than 450gm now, they will not be big enough to survive the winter.
As hedgehog numbers have declined so rapidly over the last couple of decades, it is an important part of our work to ensure that as many as possible of these little ones are cared for over the winter to be released in the spring, to carry on their life cycle.
Please contact us if you find a small hog – 160 underweight autumn juveniles made it through last winter in our care.
Hedgehogs need to be a minimum weight of at least 500 – 600gm to survive the winter.
It is also important to contact us quickly if you see a hog out in the daytime, or an injured one, as delay can mean the difference between life and death.
Hedgehogs do not hibernate or sleep in the open – if a hog is not moving it is either very poorly or already dead.
Also at this time of year we have to issue the usual warnings about bonfires and strimmers – gardeners are out tidying up – please check before strimming as they cause horrific injuries, and unlit bonfires are attractive to hedgehogs – with obvious and distressing results if they are lit some days later.
The rule must be – light the bonfire the day it is built.
Our talks team will be happy to talk about our work with hedgehogs to groups large and small – please call John on 01453 885653 to book a talk.
We do ask for a donation, and we have some merchandise to sell to help our funds.
Thanks to all who supported our stall at the Stroud Festival of Nature and Frampton Country Fair – we rely on your help.
Our next event is our Autumn Hibernation event at the Arkell Centre on Saturday, October 19. We hope to see you there!
For contact details and more information, please see our website www.helpahedgehog.org
By Julien Crowther, of the Help A Hedgehog Hospital
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