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After advice on here that any small hedgehogs (less than 650g or small enough to fit into your hand) should be rescued at this time of year and taken to a hedgehog rescue centre as they just won't be big enough to make it through the winter hibernation, I took along two very small hedgehogs to my local centre last night. A lovely lady there has taken them and will over-winter them, feed them up and then release them next Spring. She informed me that hedgehogs were on the Endangered Species list for some time, but that they have now moved onto the Near Extinct list. I had no idea they were in such trouble. You can find a local carer for small or injured hedgehogs at http://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/carers.htm - this is a limited list but they might be able to point you in the right direction. You can also try www.thehedgehog.co.uk or ask on http://www.hedgehoghelp.co.uk/. I found a local carer in the Yellow Pages. Poor old hedgehogs have hardly anything to eat these days now that gardens are so neat and insects are nowhere near as plentiful as plentiful as they used to be, and then we also lose so many of them on our roads. For anyone who is interested in helping their local hedgehogs, they really like dried mealworms or cat biscuits (especially chicken flavoured) and often need a bowl of water as they get very thirsty (not bread and milk as this is very bad for them). The lady at the rescue centre last night told me that if they are in trouble and are injured or ill, ginger biscuits are very good for them as they settle the stomach and provide them a source of good, quick energy, although they shouldn't be used for healthy hedgehogs. In a lot of areas hedgehogs haven't hibernated yet and this is their last chance to fatten up so that they can make it through the winter. Thanks
Our hedgehogs are still out and about, visiting the feeding stations in our garden and we put hedgehog food out every evening, a mixture of hedgehog biscuits from the garden centre, plus some chopped peanuts, banana chips and dried mealworms. There is also a bowl of fresh rainwater for them every evening. We've bought a hedgehog house and made a couple out of strong fruit boxes, and at least one of the fruit boxes appears to have been claimed as a home. The hedgehogs we've seen in the garden have all been 'substantial' but we're keeping our eyes open for littlies, just in case.
Thanks for posting the links Lunarz, they'll be easy to find if we need them
Our visiting hedgehogs love sunflower hearts and broken bits of banana chips, and their favourite 'Hedgehog food' is the Chapelwood hedgehog food that we buy on Amazon - about £4 ish inc p&p.
Good luck - I think he'll need to be kept warmish to prevent him going into hibernation - Tiggywinkles have an overwintering fact sheet here http://www.sttiggywinkles.org.uk/images/PDF/PDF%20Fact%20Sheets/Overwintering%20Hedgehogs.pdf in case you've not found it.
Any chance of photos ?
Tim Burr, it might be worth asking at a few local vets to see if there's anyone there who would look after an underweight hoggy. A friend of mine managed to pass hers on to one of the vet nurses who had another one she is over-wintering. Sounds as if he/she is having a lovely life at yours, though!
About half an hour ago OH was washing up after lunch and called out that there was a hedgehog wandering around the garden - it had been under the garden bench at the end of the garden (one of the feeding stations) and then gone into one of the home-made hedgehog houses behind the hydrangea.I'm wondering what it's doing out in the middle of the day (albeit in quite a shady place) - it's a big healthy hog - I'm wondering if it's been looking for dry leaves from the garden for it's hibernaculum - there are lots of fallen leaves and they are fairly dry now but they would've been very wet overnight, in fact every night recently has been quite wet. A couple of weeks ago I put some hay under that garden bench and it all disappeared, with a trail leading to that hog house so I've put some more out there just now, and put some food in the bowls and fresh rainwater in the drinking bowls.
Good luck Spike - hope to hear you've made it through to Spring
Having checked the feeding stations around our garden this morning, the bowl nearest the hog house has been emptied, but the others around the garden have not, which is unusual. Some of the hay has been taken and there is a trail of hay going into the hog house - I think hibernation is imminent.
Great to hear that Spike has found a home Tim - great news . Dovefromabove, I was worried about hedgehogs being out in the day earlier this year but apparently it is usual for them to forage for leaves in the day time, both for hibernation and also earlier in the year for making nests to breed. How lovely for you to have them hibernating in your garden - I bought a 'hogitat', but it has remained empty so far....
Hi, yes I thought that might be the reason - the leaves are very wet overnight.
We bought a rather posh Chapelwood hog house, which I think may be being used, as I've seen a hedgehog looking out of there, and there are definitely leaves being taken in there.
The one I made was out of a sturdy fruit box, with a covering of polythene stapled to it (with an air vent) and I put some fresh pet hay in there and put it facing into a sheltered corner which makes a little sort of tunnel to the opening. I've heaped the old sweetcorn stalks from the garden over it to add to insulation, and in front of it is quite a large potted hydrangea, for more protection - I put some banana chips in the entrance and the hedgehogs found it straight away and seemed to approve I think it's quite cosy - I'd like it if I were a hedgehog
I'll have to try these banana chips! Would you believe it - another 280g hedgehog in my garden tonight. My garden is only about 30ft by 20ft. This one is not from the same litter as the other two by the looks of it as he is a little bigger than them. He is now in his box, sleeping on a towel and ready to go to the rescue centre tomorrow - I felt guilty asking her to take a third one!. I wonder if this year's crazy weather has sent the poor old hedgehogs' mating calender off kilter?
I think that you may be right, or that the first litters may have perished early on so they had another 'first' litter, meaning that the following 'second' litter came along much later than usual.
The big problem with the banana chips is that they're so tasty I dip into the bag as well and they're very calorific! And as they're so sweet I worry about the hoggies' teeth, but I added them to the mix during the autumn to add to the calories to make sure they all fattened up nicely (I'd be really good at hibernating ).
I was told by an old countryman that badgers are the only predator (except us) of hedgehogs, has anyone else heard this. Apparently the badger unrolls the hog and attacks the soft underparts, Knowing how strong they are in the snout and how their thick fur protects them against bees and wasps I can believe it.
I knew a corgi x lhasa apso that used to do that - most unpleasant dog (not just because of it's hedgehog habit)
Something has just occurred to me - seeing the hedgehogs gathering the fallen leaves from our trees to make their nests, I remembered how last year, having just moved here and not knowing that we had hedgehogs, as soon as the leaves fell we went out and raked up and bagged all the leaves. The poor hedgehogs must've had to work so hard to find enough.
We're all so tidy in our gardens nowadays - if I'd not been on the sofa with 'flu this past week I'd have raked the leaves up before the hedgehogs had time to make their nests. Maybe this is another reason why their numbers are in decline?
I think you're right that the tidy gardening makes it hard for the hedgehogs Dovefromabove - I had never thought of it before either, but after my hedgehog rescuing efforts this week, I've raked my leaves and left them piled against the fence in case any hedgehogs need them. After a crazy week and 4 trips to the hedgehog rescue centre, I managed to get 6 little hedgehogs, all under 300g, in for over-wintering - probably all from the same litter. The lady there told me that the rescue centres have been asked not to release any hedgehogs into the wild next Spring as their numbers are so low, and so many were lost in the floods this year (an estimated 4 and a half million!), that they are now contemplating starting a structured breeding programme to try and prevent their total extinction. What a sad state of affairs and what a terrible price wildlife pays for us
would grey squirrals eat food left out for hedgehogs?
I have a few areas in the garden that i have left log piles and leaves, in the hope of providing shelter.
Don't know - they'd probably love the banana chips that our hedgehogs enjoy - but if you put the hedgehog food under a slab raised on four bricks on their sides that might put it beyond the squirrels' reach.