Spare a Thought for Hedgehogs this Winter

  • 14 November 2012

The ISPCA is urging people to be mindful of hedgehogs in their gardens this winter after they rescued three injured animals recently.

Nocturnal animals, hedgehogs are rarely seen. They go into hibernation from October onwards, rarely venturing from their chosen nesting spot. They also tend to give birth at this time of year – making them all the more vulnerable during cold winter months.

Interfering with a hedgehog’s nest – intentionally or otherwise – can lead to abandonment of pups and/or death from stress. Make your garden more hedgehog-friendly with the following tips:

  • Leave a cosy bundle of leaves somewhere sheltered in your garden for hedgehogs to nest in. Avoid areas that are prone to puddles after rainfall.
  • If you have pets in the garden, some suggest leaving an unused rabbit hutch as a safe hedgehog nest – this should stop unwanted stings for curious cats and dogs.
  • Take care not to disturb or injure hedgehogs if clearing fallen leaves at this time of year.
  • If hedgehogs do take up residence in your garden, try not to interact with them too much. Excessive contact with humans can leave hedgehogs overly tame and unable to defend themselves properly in the wild.
  • If you use weed killer, pesticides or rodent poison outside your home, make sure they are covered enough to keep hungry hedgehogs out.
  • Don’t feed hedgehogs milk or bread. Contrary to popular belief, it is bad for their digestive system. If you must leave out food, the ISPCA say raisins, weetabix and dry cat food are fine.
  • If you find an injured or distressed hedgehog, contact the ISPCA or your local animal welfare charity for advice.

  • Article by Jessica
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