Hedgehogs Through The Seasons

Summer (June – August)

  • If you are hoping to see a Hedgehog in your garden, summer is the time to watch for them.  With longer days it is more likely you will see one (or many) during the light summer nights.  If you’re like me you’ll be super excited to watch the little guy or girl potter around your garden, finding yourself fascinated by their ways and personalities.

If this is you and you love having these spikey friends around, there are lots of things you can do to help them out during the long summer days.

*** Gardeners ***

Summer is the time when we want to enjoy out outdoor spaces, have the lawn mown, trees and shrubs trimmed back to look neat and tidy while we lounge in the sun enjoying ourselves.  However, being mindful and taking a good look at where you’re working before you start work on your garden can help to save the lives of many a hedgehog.  A misplaced strimmer or lawn mower can cause serious injuries to a resting, nesting or sleeping hedgehog.  We see too many hedgehogs in the summer with often horrific injuries from garden tools, and unfortunately sometimes with fatal injuries.  These hedgehogs suffer needlessly from their injuries, and they are so easily avoided with some extra care.  Please, please be vigilant with your garden tools and look around before you start working.

  • Food: As ever, one of the most important things you can do for your hedgehog visitors is to put out food for them.  Meaty cat food in jelly and meat flavoured kitten biscuits are best.  Hedgehogs will use this to supplement their natural diet of the insects they find while they’re doing their nightly rounds.
  • Water: Hedgehogs need plenty to drink, and so especially in urban areas where there is little natural water, it is very important to put out water for hedgehogs.  This is even more important with the warmer weather we are getting in the UK as a result of global warming, to help the prickly ones stay cool and healthy.
  • Shelter: Baby making is the name of the game in summer and female hedgehogs will look for a safe place to nest to raise their hoglets.  Creating safe wild spaces in your garden with loose nesting materials such as leaves, cut grasses and sticks, or investing in a hedgehog house or two is ideal to help a mamma hedgehog, who unlike males who will nest anywhere and move around a lot, will look for a permanent home while she is pregnant and raising her little ones.  She will have around 4-5 hoglets per litter and so will need space for everyone to be safe and warm.
  • Mating; Hedgehogs can and do mate at any time of year, there is no specific period during which a female is fertile.  The process is a noisy one and more common in May and June, however mating can take place from April through to September.  Many female hedgehogs have two litters of hoglets per year.
  • Fighting During prime breeding months, you may also hear male hedgehogs fighting over the local females, which is mad really, when you think that a hedgehog is anything but monogamous and can even have two different mates in one night.

Spring (March – May)

During the Spring months hedgehogs begin to wake up and emerge from their hibernation. Typically, hedgehogs wake up from late March through to May and during this time our spikey friends are very vulnerable, any may appear wobbly and confused making them easier prey for larger animals and also more likely to get themselves into all sorts of trouble.

We humans can also cause a great deal of harm to hedgehogs in the Spring; just as the hedgehogs are coming back into our gardens, so are we – with mowers, strimmer’s, forks and all manner of other equipment which can seriously injure or kill a hedgehog – this is a time to be especially careful when we are tidying piles of leaves and cutting back long grass etc… We can’t stress enough how important it is to be mindful of all garden wildlife when working in your garden.

Spring Continued...

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