<%response.buffer=true%> <% yere = year(date()) Response.Expires = 0 %> Homework
<homework>
 

spacerspacer

Hedgehog FAQs

 

The Hedgehog is a great friend of the gardener as it will eat slugs, beetles, caterpillars etc, and does no harm, so if you have a large garden a Hedgehog is to be encouraged.

Diet

Hedgehogs are noisy eaters as people who have encountered these animals 'at table' will testify. The major food items are insects such as beetles, slugs, caterpillars and earth worms. However many householders put out a saucer of cat or dog food but always ensure that a dish of water is available especially during the summer months. The Hedgehog will treat this as a welcome supplement and will not go hungry if, for some reason the food is not put out. See "Caring for Autumn Orphans" for a recommended diet list

Garden Visitors

At the risk of disappointing some people it is worth mentioning the fact that Hedgehogs tend to 'do the rounds' and visit several gardens within an area. As many as ten different individuals may visit a garden over several nights, which could mean that 'your Hedgehog' is in fact a number of different individuals visiting at different times.

Helping your Friends

The best ways of assisting Hedgehogs are by helping them avoid man-made hazards and providing them with suitable places to nest, especially in winter.

Slug Pellets - these are poisonous and should only be used where there is a serious slug problem. Pellets should be placed in a pipe or under a slate inaccessible to Hedgehogs. Remove dead slugs daily

Garden Ponds - these can be death traps to small mammals so always ensure these are several gently sloping slipways to allow them to escape

Cattle and Sheep Grids - as with ponds once in they need a slope to allow them to escape

Other Dangers - Hedgehogs are very inquisitive and will try to eat almost anything. Having been attracted by the remaining contents, Hedgehogs have been found with their heads stuck in tins, yoghurt pots and plastic cups so please dispose of litter properly. This includes keeping your own refuse area free from these potential hazards.

Caring for Autumn Orphans

Hedgehogs may give birth to their Hoglets late in the year. Such youngsters will not have enough time to build up sufficient fat reserves to enable them to survive hibernation. The minimum weight to see them through the winter is 500 gms (1¼lb) and any Hedgehog below this weight is almost certain to die. Autumn 'orphans' i.e. youngsters found alone under this critical weight after the end of September, should be housed indoors. If the orphan is very young it should be given extra warmth with a hot water bottle wrapped in a blanket or a heated pad. It should be placed in a box with plenty of clean, fresh hay, crumpled newspapers or old towelling. A suitable diet includes minced meat, tinned cat or dog food (not fish based), chicken leftovers (including carcass) other forms of protein such as scrambled egg, chopped peanuts and grated cheese.

Once the animal has reach 500-600gms release can be considered. Choose a period of relatively warm, damp weather and ensure that plenty of dry nesting material is available for the Hedgehog to build a winter nest and hibernate. Also ensure that the release site is already inhabited by Hedgehogs as this is an indication that the area is 'Hedgehog friendly'. If in doubt do not release until late April when food is more plentiful, allowing the up-to-weight Hedgehog to hibernate in a cold out house in a box filled with dry fresh hay.

Hibernation

If you want to attract wildlife to your garden leave wild areas and avoid tidying up too much. Hedgehogs tend to hibernate between November and mid March and may choose the stack of leaves or branches in your garden. For this reason if you have to get rid of such material move it to a different spot before setting fire to it - a Hedgehog may be sheltering or hibernating in it. They like to nest under things such as sheds, hedges and brushwood and they need plenty of of dry leaves to build their nest.

,  
Print this Page Back To Top

2000- <%=yere%> newMANIC INC, All rights reserved