Hedgehogs in March

by Kay Bullen

This is really the start of the hedgehog year, although it can depend on the weather.  Usually it is during March that the hedgehogs, often males first, will start to wake up from their long hibernation.  One of their first thoughts is to drink, they will have gone many months with no fluids so will be looking for a long drink to quench their thirsts.  Do make sure your ponds are well filled, so they don’t topple in when trying reach the water and that they have an escape route.

If you have a feeding station you could start to put in some dried hedgehog biscuits (or cat biscuit) these will not go off as quickly as the tinned food and once they start to be taken you can start using your food of preference.  Also provide a dish of water as the dry food will make them thirsty.  If you are worried that rats might take the food you could place a saucer over the food dish.  The hedgehogs should be able to flip the saucer away to reach the food, whereas anything smaller would not have a nose strong enough to do this.

If you think you have a hibernating hedgehog in your nest box place a small screwed up piece of paper in the entrance – this will be pushed aside as the hedgehog emerges.  It may also tell you when the box is being used by a new visitor.   It is best not to peep inside as this may disturb the hedgehog and it may move on.  Although I suggested earlier that hedgehogs will be waking now, some hedgehogs may not emerge until April so try not to disturb these late risers.

If you know you have an uninhabited nest box you may like to empty its old contents out and replace it with new dry leaves, straw or torn (not shredded) newspaper.

If you find a sick or injured hedgehog contact the British Hedgehog Preservation Society they can give general advice and perhaps details of a local hedgehog rehabilitator that you can contact.  Contact them on 01584 890801.   For non-urgent enquiries they can be contacted on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   but do remember that a hedgehog out in the day is not normal and it could need urgent care.   For more general information about hedgehogs and how to help them visit the BHPS web site at www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk      




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