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Autumn Watch is helping people get tiny baby hedgehogs through the cold winter

PUBLISHED: 08:00 24 November 2019 | UPDATED: 08:17 24 November 2019

The RSPCA are appealing for donations of old icecream boxes to weigh the hedgehogs in so they don't fall off the scales. Picture: KAREN BUTLER

The RSPCA are appealing for donations of old icecream boxes to weigh the hedgehogs in so they don't fall off the scales. Picture: KAREN BUTLER

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There has been a rise in the number of tiny baby hedgehogs needing care to make it through the winter hibernation alive but kind people have been bringing them in for rescue.

This hedgehog is happily feeding on some dog food after being rescued. Picture: KAREN BUTLERThis hedgehog is happily feeding on some dog food after being rescued. Picture: KAREN BUTLER

There has been a rise in the number of tiny baby hedgehogs needing care to make it through the winter hibernation alive but awareness is high due to the popularity of wildlife programmes.

The East Winch RSPCA covers a huge area across East Anglia and has had over 1,000 hedgehogs brought in this year already.

Alison Charles works there and said last year they only had 891 hogs brought in during the entire winter period.

"Some are just so cold and dehydrated that they just don't have a chance and they don't make it through the night," she said.

This hedgehog is cosied up in a snuggle safe to keep warm. Picture: KAREN BUTLERThis hedgehog is cosied up in a snuggle safe to keep warm. Picture: KAREN BUTLER

"They are coming in thick and fast, the reason people bring them in is because they're too small to hibernate and they're usually ones from the second litter.

"We weighed one yesterday which was just 161 grams."

But whilst Alison worries: "People who see sick tiny hedgehogs they bring them in because they've watched Autumn watch or stuff like that and this really helps because they know their stuff."

Nonprofit wildlife group, WeCare, was set up last year by two women who "just want to care for the sick and injured wildlife to make sure they have a chance at life."

Some of the hedgehogs come in weighing as little as 161 grams. Picture: KAREN BUTLERSome of the hedgehogs come in weighing as little as 161 grams. Picture: KAREN BUTLER

Debbie Burrows and Gill Lewis run the centre in Brantham and Manningtree and take in hoglets in need of some TLC.

Debbie said: "We weigh them every day and feed them every night.

"We have three with a foster mum who does the same for us and we are also supporting a few people that have taken in hoglets with advice.

"We take them to the vets if we are worried about them and get them treated."

The RSPCA have had hundreds of hedgehogs in the last few months. Picture: KAREN BUTLERThe RSPCA have had hundreds of hedgehogs in the last few months. Picture: KAREN BUTLER

The RSPCA released a guide for how to tell if a hedgehog needs to be helped, using fruit.

A hog weighing 200 or 400 grams (the size of an apple) is too small as is one weighing 600 grams, (the size of a mango).

Those weighing 800 grams or more are the same size as a pineapple and do not need care, although Alison gets exasperated that some people don't realise.

"Some people are bringing in these huge hedgehogs that weigh over a kilo," she said, amazed.

The WeCare wildlife rehabilitation centre has been taking in hedgehogs in droves this year. Picture: DEBBIE BURROWSThe WeCare wildlife rehabilitation centre has been taking in hedgehogs in droves this year. Picture: DEBBIE BURROWS

"They're going out with a head torch to find them and are bringing ones back that are just too big."

The RSPCA is appealing for newspaper to keep the hedgehogs warm, ice cream tubs to weigh them in so they don't roll off the scales and dog food for them to eat so they can get their weight up.

Given the rise in patients they're running low on supplies already.


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