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Hedgehog Care in Autumn and Winter

Posted: Thursday 29th October 2015 by Community

A hedgehog in a gardenA hedgehog in a garden

Hedgehogs will soon start to hibernate. Follow our simple tips to encourage hedgehogs to your garden and to take care of any hedgehogs you may find.

Hedgehogs usually hibernate between November and March. However, when the weather is mild they may stay awake in to December.

Shelter: you can encourage hedgehogs by building hedgehog homes and providing leafy and twiggy places for hibernation, including logs and leaves. Never move a hibernating hedgehog.

Food and water: hedgehogs must have enough fat reserves to survive hibernation. It is recommended that you feed hedgehogs until food is no longer taken and provide them with food when the weather is milder. Hedgehogs feed on insects including slugs, snails, beetles, worms and caterpillars. You can feed them cat food or dog food - but this must not contain fish - crushed cat biscuits, minced meat, chopped boiled eggs, bird food, and water. Hedgehog food can be bought from wild bird food suppliers. Do not feed them bread and milk, as this will make them ill and could kill them.

Bonfire Night: in the autumn, hedgehogs look for places where they can hibernate, and unlit bonfires are an ideal location. Always check bonfires before lighting them and consider the following tips to protect all wildlife -

  • before Bonfire Night make a hedgehog home by placing a pile of grass cuttings or leaves away from the planned bonfire location
  • build your bonfire as near as possible to the date when it will be lit
  • prior to lighting the bonfire, check it for wildlife and small animals, using a torch
  • move any hedgehogs to a hedgehog box or somewhere safe and dry.

If you find a hedgehog in your garden, you can report your sighting. We also need to hear from you if you haven't seen any hedgehogs.

Report your sighting

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