Hedgehog On Scales Rspca

COLD SNAP FUELS RSPCA FEARS FOR UNDERWEIGHT HEDGEHOGS’ SURVIVAL THIS WINTER

This winter could be particularly hard for hedgehogs, as new RSPCA data from England and Wales reveals that the numbers of the iconic creatures admitted to its wildlife centres have already topped 2020 figures.

By mid-November this year, the number of hedgehogs taken into care by the animal charity’s four wildlife centres (1,896) was already more than the total for the whole of last year (1,883 in 2020).

Every year, the RSPCA receives thousands of calls from the general public reporting their concerns about a hedgehog.  In 2020, the animal charity received more than 6,000 calls from people worried about sick, underweight, injured or orphaned hedgehogs. On the Isle of Wight, that number was 4.

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Hedgehogs born late in the year often do not have enough fat reserves to survive the long winter hibernation without some help. They’ll have to forage for longer to find enough food – often during the day – and that’s often when they are spotted by concerned animal lovers determined to help them.

The decision whether or not to intervene with a hedgehog depends on how much they weigh during early winter and whether they are healthy or not.

RSPCA Scientific Officer Evie Button said:

“A cold snap can be lethal for underweight hedgehogs if it means they go into hibernation before they’ve put enough weight on.

“If you see a young hoglet that’s only about the size of an apple – around 300g – they really need to be rescued and taken to a rehabilitation facility, as they won’t have enough fat reserves to last the winter.

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“We fear this may turn out to be a bad year for hedgehogs as admission numbers into our centres have already overtaken 2020’s.  We urge people to visit our website for advice on what to do if they see a sick or injured hog, particularly if it’s out and about during the day.”

The best way to help juvenile hedgehogs depends on how much they weigh. As part of its online hedgehog advice for the public the RSPCA recommends that:

  • If the hoglet weighs less than 300g (about the size of an apple), then it will need specialist care to survive the winter. Learn online how to capture and transport the animal to a rehabilitator. The advice to take them to a rehabilitator also applies to hedgehogs of any size which are sick or injured, or seen out during the day during cold snaps 
  • If a juvenile hedgehog weighs between 300 and 500g after mid-October, they probably won’t have enough weight to see them through the winter so may also need help. The RSPCA recommends following the BHPS advice for autumn juvenile hedgehogs which describes how to help them over winter.
  • If the hedgehog weighs over 500g and is only seen out at night, it should be healthy enough to hibernate as normal in the wild. They’ll be foraging for food overnight so if you can, keep providing food in the garden as this will help them to put on even more weight before hibernation. Hedgehogs will often wake up from hibernation and forage for food at least once during winter, so providing food in the garden throughout winter will also help.

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The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
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Mr Colin M Baker
Mr Colin M Baker
7 days ago

I think they are hibernating early this year. I haven’t seen one at my feeding station since the beginning of October, whereas last year they were still feeding into December

Bootneck
Bootneck
7 days ago

I haven’t seen a Hedgehog for over 25years, the Badgers turn them on their backs and eat them. Thin the Badgers out and more Hedgehogs will survive.

Colin M Baker
Colin M Baker
Reply to  Bootneck
7 days ago

I’ve had them sneak into our kitchen and eat the cat’s food. I also get badgers and foxes in the garden, and we are in a built up area. Too much building on greenfield sites might be one of the causes of their decline

Steve
Steve
6 days ago

Not be long before rats and mice are a rare sitght once the council let this island be built on to full capacity. Im just waityfor the high rise flats to be built to cram even more people in

 

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