Hedgehogs in January by Kay Bullen
This could be a really short article as the majority of hedgehogs will be in hibernation and would not normally be active again until perhaps March – depending on weather and location. Those still awake are likely to be regular visitors to that life-saving food bank in your garden. If you happen to have a new visitor to your garden then it may well need to be rescued – again depending on weather, location and condition of the hedgehog.
If there are times when the weather is mild and gardeners are tempted to work out in the garden do take care when moving piles of debris as there may well be a hibernating hedgehog making use of the habitat.
As there is little activity in the wild hedgehog world at the moment perhaps a reminder about the hedgehog’s normal habits is in order. Whilst many people know that hedgehogs are nocturnal they do not recognise that a hedgehog out in the daylight could be in trouble. In some cases there may not be a problem as the hedgehog may have been disturbed from its nest by gardening activities, children playing or dogs investigating. In these circumstances the hedgehog be hurrying along looking for another nest site i.e. it is looking purposeful in its movements – in these circumstances it is probably alright. Just keep a watchful eye to see it to safety and check it does not reappear in daylight again. Sometimes females will nest build just before giving birth so are active in the day but watching them will show they are collecting bedding and making a nest.
However if the hedgehog is listless, lies about and (in warmer weather) has flies are around it then it is in serious trouble. If you see a hedgehog like this it is best to seek advice rather than wait too long before taking action. Indeed if you are at all concerned give the BHPS a call for advice or contact the surgery on 02892667544 we are registered hedgehog rehabilitators.
Contact the British Hedgehog Preservation Society on 01584 890801. The BHPS can give general advice and perhaps details of a local hedgehog rehabilitator that you can contact. For more information about hedgehogs and how to help them visit the BHPS web site at www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk