Spring – the most dangerous time of year for emerging hedgehogs?

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“It’s the time of year I hate most” – Jeanette Hampstead of the Hedgehog Rescue shares why so many hedgehogs are seriously hurt in spring.

Below is a video of one of this winter’s successes – press play and sound UP for a sleepy just-woke- up excellent hedgehog prickle shake, a serious scritch, and then some clearly delicious munchies.

Having released the majority of our winter hedgehogs I am now busy organising our next Hedgehog Rescue fundraising event which will be held on 21st May. We have over 30 Craft stalls ready to join us on the day, the field and Pavilion in Hazelbury Bryan are booked … all we need now are volunteers to help us on the day! If you are interested in helping out, please do give me a ring 01258 818266 or contact me on nhampstead@hotmail.com. Alternatively, a raffle prize would be a wonderful help too. As the weather begins to brighten and the days lengthen our minds turn to garden maintenance and cleaning up all those messy areas in the shed. It’s the time of year I hate the most. We have more hedgehogs admitted into the rescue with life-changing injuries than at any other time.

Burns
People always say to me that they light the fire from one side so the animals can run out the other but hedgehogs do not run. They are scared by the voices and noise, so they simply curl up into a ball. And that is where they stay until they are burnt. Even then they do not run out the other side, because they do not understand about fear. Just by moving the pile to be burnt you could save several hedgehog lives that you do not even realise need saving.

Strimmers and lawn mowers
Hedgehogs make nests in long grass. They are virtually unnoticeable, even when you know what you are looking for. Most of the time a nest just looks like a lump of grass with leaves and twigs. By cutting an area to be strimmed but leaving it longer, then walking through the area before cutting it short may help you identify a nest and rescue a hedgehog.

Major works
Removal of sheds and other garden buildings require planning but a good time to start that planning is now as hedgehogs are waking from hibernation. Removing an outbuilding in the spring gives the hedgehogs time to find an alternative nesting site. Finding a nest of baby hedgehogs is traumatic and stressful for both finder and hedgehog. If the worst happens and the nest is disturbed give the mother an opportunity to
remove her babies if possible.

The rescue will be closed for the coming month so that I can have some electrical work, with new sockets and heater installed; we are also doing some much-needed painting and emergency repairs. See you on 21st May!

by Jeannette Hampstead

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