Published On: Mon, Dec 26th, 2016

The Hedgehog’s Dilemma – Wildlife rescue centres ‘inundated with baby hedgehogs’ due to mild weather – ITV News

  1. ITV Report
  2. 29 November 2016 at 10:21am

Wildlife rescue centres ‘inundated with baby hedgehogs’ due to mild weather

Hoglets are more at risk this year thanks to the mild weather Credit: PA

Wildlife rescue centres are struggling to cope with the number of undernourished hedgehogs being brought to them, as winter sets in.

At this time of year, a normal hedgehog should weigh around 500g, but some wildlife centres in England are taking in hogs weighing just 100g.

Experts believe that the milder weather has led to later births, and these hedgehogs are too young and small to be able to survive winter hibernation.

Staff at the Oak and Furrows Wildlife Rescue in Wiltshire are currently looking after 140 hedgehogs, which is double the number of hedgehogs they had in their care this time last year.

They say that the most hedgehogs they have ever had at any one time is 110, so this year’s intake is record-breaking.

One of the hedgehogs being looked after at Oak and Furrows Credit: Oak and Furrows Wildlife Rescue

Chrissy Ball, from Oak and Furrows Wildlife Rescue, said: “We believe that it’s because of the mild weather. Hedgehogs may have had a second litter later than usual.

“The reason we have so many is that they are small – too small to hibernate – so we keep them in over the winter at a nice stable temperature, and release them in the Spring.”

Shepreth Wildlife Park’s Hedgehog Hospital, near Cambridge, has also seen record-breaking numbers of hedgehogs being brought to them.

The centre is currently caring for 100 of the critters, with an extra 50 being cared for by staff off-site.

This hedgehog will be cared for over winter and released after the frost is finished Credit: Oak and Furrows Wildlife Rescue

Usually, hedgehogs are nocturnal, but in desperation, hoglets are venturing out for food during the daytime, where they are spotted by well-meaning passersby who flag them to their nearest wildlife rescue centre.

The RSPCA recommends that people pass animals to experienced wildlife handlers, but says that young hedgehogs between 300g and 500g can be temporarily cared for at home by members of the public.

The guidance on hedgehog says: “Juveniles found weighing between 300 and 500g after mid October can be housed indoors and fed two heaped tablespoons of food daily to put on weight before being released to hibernate.”

While hedgehogs are a much-loved animal, they are now classified as endangered after a number of surveys suggested that populations have declined dramatically, perhaps by as much as 40% in the last decade.

Last updated Tue 29 Nov 2016

Wildlife rescue centres 'inundated with baby hedgehogs' due to mild weather – ITV News.

Source: The Hedgehog’s Dilemma – Wildlife rescue centres ‘inundated with baby hedgehogs’ due to mild weather – ITV News

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