8 Sep 2009

Helping Hands needed for Hedgehogs

I recently visited the new Hedgehog Hospital - see here - well it is now getting to that time when Hedgehogs will be starting to think about hibernation - and some will be too small - others will not go soon enough - some may need help....

Cartoon from Russ of the hospital - and photos taken on my visit to the Hospital

Below is a piece I've sent to the local newsletters the Warbler, Runner and Four Wards, based on something Annie - the 'Hog Mother' - has written to publicise the help she is offering. Please call her if you have any queries.

Recently a Hedgehog Hospital has been established in Brimscombe by Annie Parfitt whose energy and enthusiasm has already raised money and brought in volunteers. This is very timely, as figures show hedgehogs are dying out at a rate of about a fifth of the population every four years: if this continues there will be no more hedgehogs by 2025!

Annie has many plans including trying to plot where hedgehogs still are in this District and reintroduce hedgehogs back into areas where appropriate. She would welcome information on sitings in Whiteshill and Ruscombe. However the priority this Autumn are the juvenile hedgehogs: the ones that are old enough to be away from their mothers but too small to hibernate.

From as early as September young hogs can and will try and hibernate at 450gms (1lb) or less. However they are unlikely to survive. Annie says: "It is preferable for them to weigh 600gms (22oz) in order to hibernate successfully and be in sufficiently good condition to survive post hibernation. Hedgehogs are nocturnal so those out in the day NEED rescuing. Once out in the day they can be days away from death."

Hedgehogs don't hibernate in the open, but rather make a nest of leaves and sticks and then disappear into the depths of the nest so that they are completely hidden. Annie says hedgehogs under 450gms (1lb) that appear to be hibernating (cold and in a tight ball) are suffering from hypothermia and are in fact dying. It is these hogs that she says need rescuing if they are to stand any chance of survival.

Annie, who has been known to go out with weighing scales and gloves, said: "Towards the end of October or if bad weather is expected those under 350gms (12oz) are best rescued whether they are out day or night."

Indeed any hedgehogs out in the day at the end of October probably need rescuing and she advises using gardening gloves to place the hedgehog wrapped in a towel into a secure cardboard box and then to contact Help a Hedgehog Hospital. She says: "I will look after them and over winter them to ensure they get through their hibernation successfully and release back into the Wild in the Spring or when they have gained enough weight for a successful hibernation."

Phone for hedgehog help or advice 'Help a Hedgehog Hospital' on: 07867974525 or email annieparfitt(at)sky.com

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