We’ve had an influx of baby hedgehogs (hoglets) at the animal sanctuary over the last few weeks. Lots of young ones are being found out during daylight hours. Most of them are hungry and vulnerable, so it’s important they get the help they need as soon as possible. It could be due to the milder weather which has led to hedgehogs having more litters than usual.
We found one little hedgehog that had collapsed at a riding school. Poor little thing was starving. An emergency feed of goats milk yoghurt was ordered and he perked up a little. He’s still under intensive care at hedgehog hospital but we are pleased with his progress.
If you see a hedgehog out and about and something looks amiss, pick them up using gloves and pop them in a little box with air holes – shredded newspaper makes a great temporary nest for the box. We find an old tea towel is ideal to use to inspect them and they love to bury into it.
This little chap enjoyed tucking into a feast of meal worms – a favourite food at hedgehog hospital.
Most people rarely see them these days but you might have heard them at night when they are mating, they can be extraordinarily noisy. How do they mate with all those spikes? Very carefully you might joke but in fact it’s quite true. Mating is full of problems in the hedgehog universe. Finding a suitable partner is the first hurdle. Hedgehogs are solitary animals and they don’t really like the company of other hedgehogs. The female is a prickly customer when it comes to male admirers and she has the defenses to match. It’s not surprising to find that hedgehogs have a long and elaborate courtship ceremony involving much circling and display while the male persuades the female to lower her spikey defenses. While hedgehog courtship is often very public, the act of mating is rarely seen. After they mate, they part ways and the male has no involvement in the rearing of offspring.
Hedgehog babies can be born anytime between May and October. Peak time for births is June but mature females can often have a second litter around September.
At the animal sanctuary, we deal with many that are under sized and under weight. It’s important that we do as much as we can now to give them the best chance at survival over winter. If you find a little one out during the day and it looks lost or hungry, give us a call. We can usually help. We always appreciate a small donation when bringing a hedgehog down to to the sanctuary to help with our running costs.