North East

Hedgehogs in August


All these changes to our weather make it difficult to predict how the hedgehogs will fare. The warm spell in March has lead to a number of litters being born very early. Those female hedgehogs with successful early litters and those with unsuccessful later litters will be thinking about having a second brood. These are likely to be born in August and September – giving rise to the next batch of autumn juveniles i.e. ones having to do really well to put on enough weight to hibernate.


Damp weather is great for hedgehogs as it brings out the slugs, snails and worms. However very wet weather can lead to flooding of nests, difficulty in keeping nests dry and also difficult in staying dry themselves. Feeding stations with lids mean that your visiting hedgehogs can stay dry whilst feeding and return nice and dry to their nests. Once a hedgehog is wet, and especially if it is returning to a wet nest, it will be prone to hypothermia.


Signs of hypothermia are wobbling and shaking and acting as if they are slightly drunk. If you see a hedgehog like this then it needs to come inside. Put it on a covered hot water bottle and cover the hedgehog with another towel. Put it in a high-sided box and offer some meat based dog or cat food, then seek advice. If the problem is purely that it has become very wet and is suffering from hypothermia then it can probably be put back into the garden after a good feed. However, often hypothermia is just a sign of a problem and warming it up treats that symptom but does not address the initial cause. It is these hedgehogs that need extra help and you should seek further advice about their care.


If you think a hedgehog is in trouble call the British Hedgehog Preservation Society on 01584 890801 – out of hours you will be directed to other numbers and whatever the time you should be able to speak to a real person. You can also call me on 0191 5373178 and I’ll help if I can.


For more information about hedgehogs and making your garden safer for hedgehogs visit our web site