News from Stroud's Help A Hedgehog Hospital.

After a cold and snowy start, February has been mild and sunny, with some glorious spring days and chilly nights.

Such an early spring has brought out the snowdrops, daffodils, and very soon the hibernating hedgehogs will be waking up and looking for food.

If you have hedgehogs visiting your garden, make sure there is a fresh water supply for them and some dry cat food ready for when they emerge, as worms and beetles will still be hard to find.

 More than 155 hedgehogs have spent the winter in our care, some of which hibernated, once they had reached a safe weight to do so, and some have been feeding, especially those which were very small when found.

Most of these were ‘autumn juveniles’ born at the end of the summer, too late to put on sufficient fat reserves to survive the winter.

Those weighing less than 500gms are unlikely to survive without care, and a safer weight margin is 600gms.

So if you see a hedgehog in the early spring, it is likely to have lost weight during the winter and need some extra food to boost its chances of a successful breeding season.

 We will be starting our release programme in April – previous releases have been shown to have encouraged new breeding populations.

All our releases are recorded and mapped, showing areas where hedgehogs are thriving, and some where they do not, for reasons including unsuitable habitat, loss of hedgerows and a high badger population - badgers can and do eat hedgehogs if other natural food is in short supply.

Hedgehogs, being nomadic creatures, do like to wander from garden to garden, feeding as they go – so make sure there is a way through for them – just a small hole in the fence, near ground level, will mean they can move around.

See for more information.