This year has been another mild winter bringing with it the feel of early spring. Unfortunately this causes hedgehogs to wake from hibernation early when food is scarce and the weather may turn nasty again. When a hedgehog wakes from hibernation it is hungry and thirsty, if food is scarce it will struggle. Even hedgehogs that haven't hibernated need help at this time of year because food is scarce. Please show kindness by always leaving shallow dishes/saucers of water around the garden. Feeding dry kitten biscuits helps them enormously and it is always recommended you put the food in a feed station. This is a box that only a hedgehog can get in to eat and not! the local cats.
Hedgehogs are waking from hibernation having lost weight and need food to survive. If they wake because the weather is so mild and not because it is spring! there natural food source of insects and caterpillars are not around and they need help from us with food. Although this is a key time of year to put food out for them as well as late Autumn and early winter they actually sadly need our support all year round. The combination of commercial farming with chemicals, gardeners using chemicals, habitat loss because of land development to housing and commercial industrial estates, roads all this has had an enormous impact on biodiversity and therefore insects which is a hedgehogs main diet. They are the same as us in that if they don't eat a good quality healthy diet specific to hedgehogs then their immune system is affected, they become unwell particularly with parasite infections that overburden their systems. Please put out food and always at least shallow dishes of water all year round.
Spring is when people start coming out to garden again, strimmer injuries are one of the most common injuries hedgehogs are seen in rescues with. It only takes a short time to walk round and check long grass where you intend to strim, to check if there is a hedgehog curled up asleep. Its that easy! to save a hedgehogs life. Most hedgehog with strimmer injuries have to be put to sleep. The injuries are often too deep or they have taken a limb off or caught their nose. If a hedgehogs nose is damaged it has to be put to sleep because if it can't smell it can't feed itself properly. So please if you are going to strim or cut the lawn with a sit on! lawn mower, take a strole first and check long grass areas.
So spring is also a time when we think about moving sheds either to get rid of or to replace and reposition. Underneath sheds is one of the places hedgehogs like to nest. If you move a structure like a shed and disturb a hedgehog this can be life threatening to the hedgehog. It is important to pick it up with your gloves on and place into a high sided cardboard box with as much of its bedding as possible. If it makes darth vader noises don't worry still continue to place in the box. Put it somewhere very quiet out of the way of children and pets then phone your local rescue. Yorkshirehedgehogs.co.uk