As Autumn gets underway, the nights and mornings start to get cold our garden Hedgehogs will start to make sure they have a safe haven for the Winter months.
Here at British Bird Food, we care as much for the garden wildlife on the ground as we do for our wild garden birds. Hedgehogs are a lovely creature, but they do sometimes need a little help to survive the Winter season, basically Hedgehogs will stay asleep for the cold months, switching into hibernation mode and slowing their heart and respiration down to a very slow rate to conserve energy, but if they have not gained sufficient weight in the months prior to Winter hibernation then they are at risk of starvation.
Young Hedgehogs at this time of year that have left their mother but are still small are called Autumn Juvenile Hedgehogs, typically they will weigh around 350 to 450 Grammies BUT they really need to be over 500g and 600g is the best weight to survive the cold Winter months. If you have Hedgehogs in your garden that are small looking, see if you can get them weighed and if they are less than 500g then find some advice about what is best for your particular situation, a lot depends on the aspect of your garden, is there a warm place they are using to sleep in? have they always got access to fresh water and food, and are they eating regularly? if the answer to all these questions is yes, then chances are you would do more harm than good if you interfered with the Hedgehog. As it is easy to cause them stress by changing their environment for a "safe" one of our choosing.
However, if the Hedgehog is small, weighs less than 500g and is not eating well, coming out in the day time, staggering around or looking dazed, check for the stools he has left and see if they are green or slimy looking as opposed to hard and black - then it could be that the young hedgehog needs help to survive the Winter. The best advice, is to get some advice. take a look at www.britishhedgehogs.org put them in a cardboard box and put a little straw, leaves, or wood shavings for a bed, give fresh water and some Hedgehog food and put the box in a quiet dark and warm place (not the airing cupboard - to hot) and find out from an expert what you can do to help, or maybe you can take them to a Hedgehog sanctuary for over Wintering if you are not confident to do it your self - either way you will have done absolutely everything you could have done to help the little fellow survive the Winter