This week saw the first of our ‘patient’ hedgehogs to go into hibernation for the winter. When I was cleaning the outdoor runs, it was obvious that one hedgehog hadn’t touched his bowl of pet food and mealworms overnight.
On checking his record, it looked as if he hadn’t eaten in a good few days - could this be hibernation. The bristling of the hedgehog’s prickles when Kay handled him confirmed that he hadn’t ‘shuffled off his mortal coil’ or ‘ceased to be’.
From now on he’ll be on a hibernation diet of dried, specially formulated ‘trail mix’ for hedgehogs, with a liberal layer of mealworms on top so that we can tell if he’s woken up and eaten something at any point. He’ll be regularly checked over the winter of course, but he’ll be quite happy snoozing in his wooden hutch until the spring.
And, with Guy Fawkes Night just a couple of days away, our gently snoring hog leads me very nicely to a reminder about checking carefully under bonfires before lighting, because piles of wood, autumn leaves and other garden rubbish provide the perfect hibernation spot for hedgehogs.
If you’re about to light a bonfire, please make sure you check there aren’t any hedgehogs resting up among the wood before you set light to it.
Also if you’re cutting grass, just make a bit of noise or disturb the area a bit before using a strimmer or mower. Better still, leave an area of the garden long for hedgehogs and other wildlife to find a save haven over winter.