They will be in desperate need of food and water as soon as they emerge, as they urgently need to replenish lost fat reserves in time for the breeding season. Offering meat based pet food and fresh water will help at the same time as encouraging them into your garden. This is especially important this year following promises of early heat waves! Please take care when tidying up the garden after winter, many hedgehogs suffer terrible injuries every year from strimmers, garden forks, mowers, etc.
Fay Vass, Chief Executive of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society offers this advice. “If you see a hedgehog staggering as if he is drunk, or ‘sunbathing’ please be aware that he is actually very ill as both of these signs point to him being hypothermic. He should be picked up using gardening gloves and taken indoors in a high sided cardboard box. Pop a wrapped hot water bottle in with him as well as an old towel for him to hide under. Offer meat based pet food and fresh water and make sure the hot water bottle stays warm. Then call the Society on 01584 890 801 for further advice and the number of a local rehabilitator.”
The British Hedgehog Preservation Society has produced a leaflet called ‘Gardening “with” Hedgehogs’ for those wishing to help prickly garden visitors. Membership of BHPS costs just £7.50 per year for one person. For your free leaflet, or membership information, see www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk or send an A5 sae to BHPS Gardening, Hedgehog House, Dhustone, Ludlow, SY8 3PL.
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