Hibernation is an amazing process. Many animals in our country choose to evade the winter by effectively shutting themselves down. Respiration slows and their core temperature drops to cut down energy use as much as possible. One of the most famous hibernators is the Hedgehog, who will currently be preparing to enter this torpor.
The precise time they enter hibernation will change year on year and is largely influenced by the weather. The shorter days of Autumn are the first indication of winter, so the hedgehogs know to start getting ready. They eat as much as possible and find a suitable place to make their winter bed. Once the first frosts come in the night, this cues the hedgehogs to retire and begin their long sleep.
We can help now by providing lots of food and bedding material. Piles of old leaves are perfect for the hedgehogs to make winter shelters. For food, you should not put out milk and bread. Neither is good for hedgehog’s digestion. They are insectivores and prefer to eat slugs, snails and worms. So meal-worms from your local pet store are a great source of protein. Cat food or dog food with a saucer of water are also great substitutes.
It’s not just hedgehogs that are getting ready to slumber, it’s frogs too! This week Rosa wrote in asking more about these amphibians.
Leave a question or comment below about your local hedgehogs and you could be featured in our future blogs! You can send any queries or pictures to:
Also remember to subscribe to our blog at the top right of the screen for updates on events, your pictures, wildlife and much more.