Saturday, 10 November 2012
Wildlife rescue centres around the country are currently inundated with juvenile hedgehogs who need carers to feed them up to 600g, a safe weight for hibernation. I took myself down to the West Midlands centre and brought back two small hogs, one for myself and one for Lorcan from the Whitchurch Water Vole group.
We've been told to keep our hedgehogs warm and to feed them meaty (not fishy) cat food (in jelly, not gravy). A saucer of crushed peanuts also goes down a treat, and they need plenty of fresh water to drink (never milk).We're weighing them every day or two, handling as little as possible, and when they attain their ideal mass we can put them in an outdoor sheltered place, like a shed or a garage, with a box or hutch from which they can come and go, plus food and fresh water. The hope is that the cold temperatures then will trigger hibernation, though the animals will still need to be checked every day and supplies renewed. Come the spring they can then be released into the wild.
Lorcan's blog charts our progress here: http://www.younghog.blogspot.co.uk/ My hog had a poor start as he had to be taken to the vet and wormed, but since then he's picked up strongly. Lorcan's female hog goes from strength to strength.
If you have a spare room and an unused hutch and think you could foster a small hedgehog, do google your local wildlife rescue centre because I know they'd appreciate any help they can get!