We are delighted to announce that our Hedgehog Hero for September is Dave Lunn. Dave takes in hundreds of hedgehogs a year, helping those that are injured or ill before releasing them back into the wild. We spoke to Dave to find out more about where his love of hedgehogs stems from and how we can all make a difference when it comes to protecting the nation’s hogs. 

How did you first become interested in hedgehogs?

I have always been fond of hedgehogs. My house is full of animals, including dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs and more and I try to promote animal welfare. I started rescuing hedgehogs a few years ago; there’s so much more to it than just cleaning and feeding them.

What do you think is the best thing about hedgehogs?

They’re cute and full of character but they’re also quintessentially British! I know they exist in other countries but they’re on our christmas cards and our tv ads. When you think of British wildlife, hedgehogs are often one of the first animals that spring to mind.

What can we all do to promote hedgehog welfare?

We need to spread awareness about the decline of the species, as they are vulnerable to extinction. Social media is massive and luckily, hedgehog awareness is now starting to spread in Britain. Celebrities like Sir Brian May do what they can to champion hedgehogs and we need to keep pushing their plight as much as we can. 

What is your process when it comes to caring for hedgehogs?

When a hedgehog first arrives at the rescue, I do a visual check for problems like bleeding, ticks, maggots, fly eggs and dehydration. If the hedgehog is dehydrated, I administer fluids. Once the hedgehog defecates, I examine the faeces under a microscope to check for any parasites. I also weigh them and make a note of this so I can track their progress over time. One thing I always do as well is name them! (although I have a strict ‘no sonic’ policy).

My goal is always to cure any illness or injury, help the hedgehog get nice and fat and then release it back into the wild. 

Do you do any fundraising to raise money for hedgehogs?

Hedgehog rescues are expensive to run so fundraising is a necessity. We constantly have to replenish our supply of incubators, microscopes, food, bedding and cleaning materials so we need all the help we can get. I have a few amazing supporters that make soft toys, garden signs and cards for hogs they’ve taken a shine to.

Do you have any other plans for hedgehog welfare on the horizon?

Unfortunately, there’s not enough hours in the day to do everything I’d like to do for hedgehogs. I’m just going to try and do my best for hedgehog welfare with the resources I have. 

What do you think the future looks like for hedgehogs?

The future of the UK hedgehog population is very bleak I’m afraid. This is due to the destruction of their natural habitats, as well as our increased use of garden chemicals. During the first lockdown we saw wildlife thrive in the UK, which further demonstrates the negative impact humans can have on our ecosystems. 

We need to continue to encourage our government to intervene, ensuring hedgehog rescue centres are protected and hedgehog welfare is a priority. 

Thank you Dave for the amazing work you do! You can connect with Dave via Facebook.

Want to hear all about our Hedgehog Hero for August? Keep reading! We spoke to August’s pick, Jannine Coleman, to find out all about the amazing work she does promoting hedgehog welfare. Jannine volunteers at Karen’s Hogspital in Brandon, Suffolk and moves mountains to raise as much money as she can for them. 

How did you first become interested in hedgehogs?

I’ve always loved hedgehogs, ever since I was a child. Mrs Tiggywinkle was my favourite Peter Rabbit character so it’s safe to say they’ve always had a place in my heart. I was lucky enough to have hedgehogs in my garden from an early age and have always loved feeding them and seeing what they get up to! They’re just the most adorable creatures and need to be protected at all costs.

What can we all do to promote hedgehog welfare?

Hedgehog welfare is something we are all passionate about at the Hogspital and Karen works tirelessly for the gorgeous little creatures; feeding every hour 24 hours a day takes dedication that’s for sure! We can all make a difference just by leaving out food and fresh water. It is always worth creating a hedgehog highway in your garden and even investing in (or making, if you’re that way inclined) a hedgehog house

What is your process when it comes to caring for hedgehogs?

Karen at the rescue does the wonderful job of caring for the hedgehogs. It is important to remember that hedgehogs are wild animals and you shouldn’t interfere with them unless you’ve had the appropriate training. I do what I can by raising funds for the rescue to ensure the hogs have everything they need to stay fit and healthy.

What sort of fundraising do you do to raise money for hedgehogs?

We have a team of wonderful crafters who make knitted, crocheted and other hand crafted items for us to sell at local craft fairs and events. We also recently attended a local fete, which was very successful in both monetary terms and in spreading the word about hedgehog welfare. All the funds we raise are donated to Karen’s Hogspital. 

Do you have any plans for hedgehog welfare on the horizon?

We have a few things coming up so watch this space! I really enjoy doing my part for hedgehogs so I’ll continue to spread awareness about them and raise funds to support them wherever possible. 

What do you think the future looks like for hedgehogs?

The future looks bleak for the native hedgehog which is so very sad. As a nation, we should be pushing the government to do more to protect natural habitats, curb the use of pesticides and include hedgehog highways in the building plans for EVERY new build home. We have a long way to go which is why it’s so important for people to get involved. 

 

Thank you Jannine for the amazing work you do and for always putting hedgehogs first! Do you have a passion for hedgehogs? If you constantly strive to promote hedgehog welfare, or know someone that does, connect with us on social media for a chance to be named our next hedgehog hero!

 

Meet Alice Fearn, our Hedgehog Hero for July! Alice is fourteen and is living proof that the younger generation can make a big impact when it comes to promoting hedgehog welfare! Read on to find out all about the amazing things Alice does and why she is the perfect candidate for our Hedgehog Heroes series. 

How did you first become interested in hedgehogs?

I first became interested in hedgehogs back in July 2017. We had just moved to the Lincolnshire Wolds and one day, I saw a hedgehog sitting in a field near my new house. I couldn’t believe it and neither could my family! We’d never seen a hedgehog before so it was a thrill to spot one for the first time. 

My brother made a hedgehog house out of a wine crate and I went to go pick up some hedgehog food. I tried a few brands but the neighbourhood hogs never seemed overly keen, until I brought home some Spike’s hedgehog food. Since then, we have had hedgehog visitors nearly everyday and they can’t seem to get enough of Spike’s. 

What do you think is the best thing about hedgehogs?

It’s hard to pick a favourite as there are so many things I love about hedgehogs! If I had to choose one thing, it would be how loud they are for such a small animal. Over the years, I’ve learnt to tell the difference between the noises hedgehogs make; they make sniffing sounds when they’re looking for food, huff and puff during mating season and the sound of rustling bushes lets me know they’re foraging. When I hear that distinctive crunching noise, I know they’re chowing down on some Spike’s! In my experience, hedgehogs seem to love semi-moist food and never say no to a bit of insect crumble as a treat. Hedgehogs rely on their sense of smell, which is perhaps why a slightly more moist food is irresistible to them. 

What can we all do to promote hedgehog welfare?

Nowadays, I think the best platform for promoting hedgehog welfare is social media. Instagram in particular is great for making younger generations aware of hedgehogs and educating them on what they can do to help the nation’s hogs. You can share posts easily and expand your reach, ensuring the right messages get across! People are really into video content at the moment and I believe this is a great way to spark people’s interest in hedgehog preservation. 

How did you first get involved with making Youtube videos?

I saw lots of people making videos on other subjects, such as cooking, makeup tutorials, etc, but I couldn’t find many videos about helping hedgehogs. A few years ago, I would have really appreciated more video content around how to attract/protect hedgehogs! So, I decided to just start making them myself in order to help others. Videos are great as visual content is much easier to understand and is also more likely to engage people. 

What is your process when it comes to making videos?

I like to address the questions I get from my followers. I also try to make videos that address questions nobody else on the platform is answering. Research is important, so I spend lots of time gathering information from different websites and if there’s something I’m not sure of, I get in touch with my local rescue centre. Occasionally, I will create videos that focus on a personal experience I’ve had caring for local hedgehogs. 

Do you have any other plans for hedgehog welfare on the horizon?

I would like to continue to highlight current issues hedgehogs are facing. The species is well on its way to becoming extinct and there is more we can all do to help stop this from happening. One big thing that I’m going to cover in a video soon is the importance of hedgehog highways and how people can get involved. I hope to gain more followers and subscribers along the way!

What do you think the future looks like for hedgehogs?

Fortunately, there is a growing interest around hedgehogs, thanks to campaigns and social media accounts that are helping spread the word about small changes we can make to help our local hogs. Simple things such as leaving a shallow dish of food and water can make all the difference! I think the more the younger generations take an interest in hedgehogs, the better the future will look for the species.

Alice’s mum, Tracey, is especially proud of her daughter and her commitment to the cause:

“Alice is passionate about hedgehogs, she enjoys letting me know all about them and showing me her social media. If I can’t find her in the house late at night I know where she will be (outside observing the hedgehogs)!”

Thank you Alice for all the amazing work you’re doing on behalf of UK hedgehogs! Subscribe to Alice’s Youtube channel ‘This Alice!’ and follow her on instagram @hedgehoglifeandmore.

We are delighted to name Charlotte Smith, who runs Hog House Rescue in Leeds, the Hedgehog Hero for June! Charlotte does some amazing work in her local area, rescuing and caring for poorly hogs. Read all about her day-to-day activities and what we can all do to protect and help save the hedgehogs.

How did you first become interested in hedgehogs?

I have always been interested in hedgehogs, even when I was a child. When I was younger, I once found one in the street that had sadly died; my best friend and I sat and waited until someone came to collect it and we were very upset that we couldn’t do more to help. I just love how cute they are and their sweet little faces. 

What do you think is the best thing about hedgehogs?

I think the best thing about hedgehogs is their ability to ball up tight to defend themselves and the way they can flatten themselves to get under gaps. They really are amazing creatures! 

What can we all do to promote hedgehog welfare?

We all need to do more to make our gardens more hedgehog friendly. Introducing a ‘hedgehog highway’ and a feeding station gives them an access point and readily available sustenance. We also need to reduce our reliance on pesticides when gardening as many of these chemicals are dangerous to hedgehogs. If we made these small changes I believe they would thrive so much more. 

How did you first get involved with the rescue centre? 

I first became interested in having my own rescue when I was on my way to my sister’s one day. I saw a hedgehog in the middle of the road in the hot sunshine and I knew immediately that it wasn’t okay. I took it to the vets, who checked it over, and then allowed it to live in our garden in a hedgehog house. The hedgehog continued to live in our garden until it unfortunately passed away. That experience really spurred me on to help as many hedgehogs as I could. 

What does a typical day look like at the rescue centre?

On a typical day, I get up and make sure all the hedgehogs are okay and that they’ve all eaten through the night. I then clean out every box and give them all fresh food and water. If any are on medication, I administer this, then they all go to sleep. While they’re dozing, I check all the resources and medication and order more as and when needed. Then the rest of the day is dedicated to answering calls and going out to rescue other hedgehogs! 

Do you do any fundraising to raise money for hedgehogs?

I usually set up fundraisers on Facebook to help raise money. I also have some very kind people that regularly donate to the rescue; it really is amazing as without their support we likely wouldn’t be able to carry on. 

Do you have any other plans for hedgehog welfare on the horizon?

I’m trying to spread the word on how to make your garden hedgehog friendly and give people advice on the best food to feed hedgehogs. It’s also my number one mission to educate people that if they see a hog out during the day, they need to get it help ASAP. It’s worth noting that hedgehogs are wild animals so your best bet is to call a local rescue centre or the RSPCA

What do you think the future looks like for hedgehogs?

If people don’t help them and make their gardens more hedgehog friendly, we will likely lose the species completely. Ultimately, we don’t want that to happen so we need to do everything in our power to protect them. 

If you know someone who you think has what it takes to be named a Spike’s Hedgehog Hero, connect with us on social and tell us about your nomination! 

 

Hedgehog Awareness Week occurs during the first week of May each year. The British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) helps raise awareness through campaigns, advocacy and educational projects so that practical steps can be taken to reverse the decline of hedgehogs in the wild. The BHPS also funds research to gain further insights into these much-loved creatures. Through Hedgehog Awareness Week, the BHPS aim to draw attention to the work they do and encourage the British public to get involved. But what can you do to help this endangered species? Read on to find out more…

 

How can I help hedgehogs?

 

There are a number of things you can do to help hedgehogs thrive in your local area, starting in your garden:

 

  • Make sure that any piles of leaves or logs are left undisturbed. They can make an effective hedgehog nest and will also double up as a great habitat to attract a rich feast of earwigs, centipedes and woodlice.

 

  • Cover any drains or deep holes that hedgehogs could fall into. If you have a pond or swimming pool, make sure there is an easy way out. Although hedgehogs can swim, they sometimes need a helping hand. Try placing half submerged rocks near the water’s edge, to help them should they get stuck.

 

  • When spring arrives and gardening begins, be sure to check grassy areas before using a lawn mower or strimmer. This will prevent any potential accidents with hedgehogs.

 

  • Avoid using pesticides or poisons that hedgehogs may accidently ingest, whether that be directly or when eating food sources such as beetles, worms and caterpillars.

 

  •  Although you might find it hard if your garden is your pride and joy, try to leave the gardening as long as possible to allow wildlife to thrive in a more natural habitat.

 

  • Tidy up any litter that may have been left or blown into your garden to avoid any hedgehogs getting trapped.

 

What should you do if you find a hedgehog in your garden?

 

There are a few things to consider if you spot a hedgehog before deciding if any action is needed. If the hedgehog is out at dusk or late evening, this is perfectly normal behaviour and the hedgehog can be left well alone. Leave out a shallow dish of fresh water and some scrummy Spike’s Hedgehog Food to help them with the energy they need to raise their new hoglets or to build up their fat stores ready for hibernation.

 

If you spot a hedgehog out in winter or in the middle of the day, then it could be that the hedgehog is unwell. In the winter months, hedgehogs traditionally hibernate due to the lack of food available in colder temperatures. However, this is no longer always the case with many hedgehogs coming out of hibernation in winter in search of food. Some hedgehogs, in southerly parts of the country, might not hibernate at all, so seeing a hedgehog out in the winter is not always a reflection of them being unwell. It can be hard to tell if there is something wrong so if in doubt, seek advice from your local hedgehog rescue. 

 

When should I help a hedgehog?

 

If you spot a hedgehog in your garden in the winter months or in the middle of the day, check to see if their eyes are open. If they are open then the hedgehog is not in immediate danger but you can continue to monitor from a distance, just to be on the safe side.

 

If you find one on a road, laying with their eyes closed, or if they look like they might weigh less than 300 grams, they likely need some help.

 

Other signs that a hedgehog might be in distress and need your help are:

 

  • Appears to be lethargic – hedgehogs don’t sunbathe. They prefer dark, damp areas so if you happen to see one out in the sun and they’re not moving, it is likely there is something wrong.
  • Flies – if a hedgehog has a swarm of flies surrounding them, they urgently need some help. 
  • Wobbly – while out and about, if you spot a hedgehog that seems wobbly when they walk, then the hedgehog is unwell and needs help from a hedgehog rescue.
  • Obviously injured – no matter what the injury is, make sure you speak with a hedgehog expert who can offer support with next steps.
  • Trapped – have they been caught in netting, a pond or in a drain? If so, the hedgehog is going to need a helping hand.
  • Hoglets – if you see hoglets out in the day, without an adult and/or they are squawking, they will need intervention from a hedgehog rescue or the RSPCA.

 

If you spot a hedgehog that fits one of the above criteria, contact the RSPCA or your local hedgehog rescue, who will be able to offer further assistance. For more help or advice about spotting the signs of a hedgehog in distress, take a look at The British Hedgehog Preservation Society website for more information.

Do you have regular hedgehog visitors in your back garden? Why not add your sightings to our hedgehog map and take part in the Spike’s Great British Hedgehog Survey.

 

This month’s Hedgehog Hero is 78-year-old Irene Cannon, who was nominated by many for her commitment to helping hedgehogs. Irene has been working alone over the past year as she had to isolate due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Here she tells us about her passion for hedgehogs and her fundraising efforts:

 

When did you first start looking after hedgehogs?

My involvement with hedgehogs started about 20 years ago when I found a hedgehog out during the day in the autumn months. Looking after the hedgehog made me realise I needed to know much more about their needs in order for me to continue to help them. To build my knowledge and experience I went on the First Aid, Care & Rehabilitation of Hedgehogs Course at Vale Wildlife in Gloucestershire and another in Yorkshire.

 

After I completed the courses, I realised that helping hedgehogs was a true passion and so that is when I decided to create Furness Hedgehog Rescue.

 

What is it about caring for hedgehogs that you love?

 

I love hedgehogs. They ask for so little; just food and water and somewhere to sleep. 

They are the most gentle little creatures – although I have had a few bites over the years!

 

What can we do to help hedgehogs off the extinction list?

 

Everyone should put a fresh bowl of water out every night whether you have a garden or not. Dehydration is a terrible thing.

 

For those that have gardens, it would help hedgehogs immensely if you create a hedgehog highway by simply having a 5″ gap in your fence or wall. If you have a pond, make sure there is an escape route for hedgehogs to get out, as many of them fatally drown in ponds every year.

 

Do you do any fundraising?

 

I do lots of fundraising. I sell hedgehog related items, most of which are donated by friends of the rescue. This year has been difficult because of Covid but on dry days I have been putting a small table outside my house to sell some of our hedgehog items. The support has been amazing.

 

Why do you think so many people nominated you to be a Hedgehog Hero?

 

I think a lot of people have nominated me because I run the only rescue in the area and I live in a small town where most people know me. Over the years I have saved countless hedgehogs and sometimes have over 100 overwintering or in need of care.

 

 What does it mean to you to be named the Spike’s Hedgehog Hero for May?

 

I think it is a great honour to be named May’s Hedgehog Hero with people recognising what I do and appreciating all the effort I put in on a daily basis.

 

Congratulations to Irene for being named this month’s Hedgehog Hero and for continuing your efforts throughout a difficult year!

 

 

 

Can you remember the last time you saw a hedgehog? For many of us, the last memory of seeing a spiky friend dates back to childhood. That’s not to say that they aren’t still visiting you though, it might be that you’re just not seeing the signs that they’ve been in your garden. If you’re not sure what you should be looking for, here are some top tips for tracking your hedgehog visitors.

  1. Check for hedgehog tracks

As hedgehogs come out at night it can be tricky to spot them or to even know they’ve been. One of the first things to look out for is footprints. The average hedgehog weighs just one kilogram, so footprints are only visible if the ground is soft or wet. Check for footprints in muddy parts of your lawn or in flower beds. 

A hedgehog footprint is usually around 2.5cm long and 2.8cm wide. They have five toes on both their front and back feet but only four toes show up in their tracks. A hedgehogs front footprints look like little handprints while their back footprints are longer and slimmer.

If you think you can see hedgehog footprints but aren’t 100% sure, you can build a hedgehog tunnel or house and put a sheet of white paper down. This will allow you to see if any tracks or marks are left on the piece of paper by a neighbourhood hedgehog.

  1. Look out for droppings

Finding droppings in your garden is a sure-fire way of knowing that you’ve had some spiky visitors. Not to get too graphic here but just so you know what to look for, hedgehog droppings are dark in colour due to their diet and tend to be found as singular droppings. They can range in size from 15mm to 50mm and look similar to a cat poo but are round on top rather than pointy.

  1. Your garden has been disturbed

As many of you will know, hedgehogs love to settle in large piles of leaves, logs or compost heaps – anywhere that is dark and damp! Your garden visitors will have left a trail as they move around so look for areas of your garden where small tunnels have been forged.

If you suspect a hedgehog has set up home in your garden, try leaving a few large leaves over the entrance of the tunnel or a log pile before dusk and check the following morning to see if the leaves have moved.

  1. Listen for noises

Hedgehogs are known for making quite loud noises and they are capable of making a range of sounds from quiet snuffling, to hissing and even loud screaming, which can sometimes be mistaken for human noises. Listen out at night for snuffling or shuffling sounds in your garden, particularly in spring (as this is when hedgehogs come out of hibernation and begin to look for food or mating partners). During mating season, male hedgehogs can get quite loud as they fight over female hogs.

  1. Set up a hedgehog feeding station

If you’re still not certain whether you’ve had any hedgehog visits, it is worth setting up a hedgehog feeding station. Purchase a specialist hedgehog food such as Spike’s Hedgehog Food and leave a bowl of food and a bowl of water in a hedgehog house (you can buy one or make your own). The hedgehog house will prevent other animals from eating the food so you know for certain that you’ve had hedgehogs visitors. You could even set up a camera close to the feeding station so that you can catch a glimpse of them eating the delicious hedgehog food.

Once you know that you’ve had a spiky visitor, make sure you head to our sighting map to enter your sighting.

 

Irene Thomson set up Lowton Hedgehog Rescue nine years ago and now cares for up to 45 spiky creatures in her shed at any one time. After many nominations by those that know her, Irene has been named as our Spike’s Hedgehog Hero for April!

How did you first become involved in helping hedgehogs?

I started the rescue centre over 9 years ago after finding a hog that needed help. After taking it to a rescue, I then became involved in the vital work needed to save this species, as they are in serious decline in this country. By setting up my own rescue and attending numerous wildlife courses with Vale Wildlife Hospital and the RSPCA, I have been able to save hundreds of hedgehogs. 

Tell us more about Lowton Hedgehog Rescue?

The rescue is run from a purpose-built and kitted out shed in the garden. In total, the rescue can accommodate 45 hedgehogs at any one time and the busiest seasons are summer and autumn.

I think there are more electrical sockets in the shed than there are in my house! The sockets are needed because of the various pieces of equipment necessary for caring for sick and injured hedgehogs, i.e. incubators, zoo zones with 24/7 heat mats underneath them, examination lighting, microscopes, nebulisers, a fridge for certain medications and a microwave. Not to mention the heater for the winter months and a fan for the hot summer months!  

Outside hutches are insulated as well, plus I have a specially built rehabilitation pen in the garden used for monitoring disabled hogs i.e. amputees, eyesight issues and daytime activity. This is also used for situations where a mum and her hoglets have been disturbed or are in danger and once in the pen the family is safe with the youngsters learning to forage with mum. Hogs do not stay in this pen together as they are primarily solitary animals and can’t be mixed, it is purely used for specific cases before deciding the best situation for their eventual release, i.e. an enclosed garden for some of them.

I also have two small incubators inside my home which are specifically for orphaned hoglets who need two hourly feeds, or for critical cases that need close monitoring in the evening. 

How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected you and what you do?

The year 2020 saw a necessary change in the volunteering system due to the Covid pandemic. Previously, I had volunteers who came each morning to help with the daily task of cleaning out and refreshing all bedding and feeding needs. Now, I only have help three times a week from trusted volunteers who can work without my supervision. The rescue certainly can not function without the wonderful help of these people! 

What is it about caring for hedgehogs that you love?

My passion grows with each successful release of a healthy hedgehog, and also the knowledge that members of the public are now doing far more to help them survive fills me with joy. Many people now have hedgehog boxes in their gardens for the hogs to nest in and also provide food and water. It’s great that we can continue to spread the word about helping hedgehogs through the Lowton Hedgehog Rescue Group on Facebook and through our fundraising efforts.

What can people do to help hedgehogs?

The key thing is to allow hedgehogs to have access to your garden as they need to visit at least 10 gardens a night to find enough natural food. A simple gap or hole in fencing/gates (known as a hedgehog highway) will facilitate this.

Why do you think so many people nominated you to be a Hedgehog Hero?

I was delighted and also humbled by the number of people who nominated me to be a Hedgehog Hero and I know lots of folk follow the stories of the hedgehogs that come through the rescue and join with me on the hogs’ journey to recovery, but also give me moral support when there are the occasions of sadness because not all can be saved.

My rescue work is done voluntarily from my home and I fund the costs mainly by myself. I regularly need a little help to keep up with the daily costs and that’s where my helpers and fosterers come in!  Nominating me as a Hedgehog Hero is also a form of support which I really do appreciate. 

What does it mean to you to be named the Spike’s Hedgehog Hero for April?

I have a fabulous support network of volunteers/fosterers and wouldn’t be able to help such a large number of hogs each year without them. It is a privilege to be nominated as the Spikes ‘Hedgehog Hero’ because I think everyone can play a part in the conservation of a species that is in fast decline in this country. 

Congratulations to Irene for being named our Hedgehog Hero for April, you are an inspiration and a true Hedgehog Hero!

 

 

Our Hedgehog Hero for March is six year old Charlie! Charlie has been helping raise money for his local hedgehog rescue since the age of 4, with the help of mum, Lucy. Lucy tells us more about Charlie’s fundraising and his love for hedgehogs:

 

You must be really proud of Charlie being so enthusiastic about helping hedgehogs from such a young age, can you tell us how he first got involved with Help for Hogs? 

 

Charlie loves all animals so when our local hedgehog rescue, Help for Hogs, advertised for volunteers in early 2018, I contacted Sue at the rescue and asked if I could volunteer with Charlie. Sue and Clive have been running Help for Hogs since 2015 and they were keen to have Charlie participate. However with him being only four at the time, he couldn’t get involved in the standard day-to-day volunteer work. Knowing he was eager to be involved, Sue suggested Charlie help clean the outside water sources and check and replenish the feeding stations. It was from there his love for hedgehogs grew.

 

Can you tell us about Charlie’s fundraising efforts?

 

Charlie often asks Sue and Clive questions about the hogs. He’s inquisitive about the world around him and likes to find out how and why things happen. He quickly became very knowledgeable about the work carried out at Help for Hogs and became particularly interested in the spring when the baby hogs started to appear at the rescue. 

 

The rescue centres have Brinsea TLC Incubators but these are quite expensive for a small self-funded rescue. Charlie decided he wanted to help buy one. Our wonderful friend, Claire James at The Pedlars Tray in Hereford, helped Charlie come up with the idea of selling hedgehog pencils made with pine cones to raise money. Charlie began to sell the pencils in our village and at The Pedlars Tray. 

 

With the hedgehog pencils being such a success Charlie took his efforts to the Shobdon Food and Flying Festival and managed to raise £133! Charlie also attended and sold pencils at an event at The Children’s Bookshelf book shop in Hereford, where Author Rosie Wellesley read her books about Isaac the Hedgehog.

 

 

At Halloween in 2019, Charlie made limited edition pencils and sold them at Madley Environmental Study Centre. Then at Christmas, he made some festive limited-edition pencils and sold them at some of our local shops. 

 

Through all of his efforts, Charlie was able to purchase a small Brinsea Incubator that can be set up in a vehicle and taken out on rescues, giving the hogs the best chance to recover. He was also able to purchase a much larger Brinsea Incubator which provides a warm, clean, quiet, safe and controlled environment. This gives orphaned babies and sick hogs the best chance to recover and thrive. 

 

Where does he get his enthusiasm for helping others?

Charlie is a very caring child who loves nature and the world around him and that’s what drives his passion for hedgehogs and animals in general.

 

What does Charlie love about hedgehogs? 

Charlie thinks hedgehogs are very cute. He loves the way they move around and the sounds they make. Their spikes remind him of dinosaurs- like a stegosaurus!

 

What advice do you have to those wanting to get involved in helping hedgehogs? 

Rescues are always in need of volunteers at the centres or with fundraising. Hedgehogs were placed on the red list for British Mammals in July 2020 meaning they are now classified as vulnerable to extinction. Help for hedgehogs is needed now more than ever. Everyone can give a helping hand by putting holes in their fences, creating feeding stations and having awareness of foods that can cause hedgehogs issues (such as sunflower seeds, peanuts and oats, which can give hogs metabolic bone disease). Hedgehog houses and wildlife-friendly planting can also help hedgehogs thrive in our gardens as well as removal of any hazards. 

 

Following your local rescue or the BHPS on social media is beneficial if you want to raise awareness and provide support. Volunteering is massively rewarding and a great way of boosting your mental health!

 

What does Charlie have in the pipeline to help hedgehogs? 

Charlie is currently fundraising for a new microscope that will help identify nasties such as lungworm, roundworm and fluke. The hedgehogs can then receive the necessary treatment before they are released back into the wild. When we went into the first lockdown in 2020 and all of the shows and events were cancelled, Charlie began to sell rainbow-coloured hedgehog pencils outside of our home, with £1 from every pencil going to the NHS. The pencils are now on sale at Bartestree Stores in Hereford. 

  

What does Charlie see himself doing when he is older? 

Charlie wants to be a doctor, a vet, a palaeontologist or a biologist when he is older. He also has a passion for art and would love to be an artist. If he could, he would become all of the above!

 

Well done Charlie for all of your hard work, we’re proud to have you as our Spike’s Hedgehog Hero for March! 

 

With the weather warming up and the sun appearing more and more, it means spring is here and the hedgehogs are coming out of hibernation! Remember, our spiky friends will be low on energy from their long sleep and will need lots of food and water to help them re-energise. Be sure to greet your local hedgehogs with tasty and nutritious treats like our Spike’s Hedgehog Food.

What time of year do hedgehogs come out?

Hedgehogs typically start to come out of hibernation from late March onwards, as the temperatures get warmer and the seasons change. This is the time of year they are most hungry and need lots of nutritious food and fresh water to replenish their energy stores. It’s worth remembering that hedgehogs can lose up to a third of their body weight by the time they come out of hibernation!

When hedgehogs first come out of hibernation, this is the best time to start feeding them, as natural food sources may still be scarce due to the slowly rising temperatures.

At this time of year, you might be tempted to get out into the garden and start tidying things up ready for the summer months. Remember not to be too tidy; even though hedgehogs are coming out of hibernation, they will still only come out at night time and may be snoozing in your hedges or in a pile of leaves during the day. 

As you start tending to your gardens you might think about putting slug pellets down. Slugs are a part of a hedgehogs diet and any chemicals used in slug pellets will also affect hedgehogs that eat these slugs. Instead, try protecting your plants with non chemical methods, so the slugs can still live in your garden without causing damage and continue to be sustenance for hedgehogs.

 

What months are hedgehogs active?

Once out of hibernation, hedgehogs remain active through spring and summer and start to think about hibernation again in late autumn, typically at the end of November. Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, sleeping through the day and venturing out at dusk to find food or to meet potential mating partners.

 As we move into April, all hedgehogs will now be active and will be searching for nesting sites and mates. It’s important to keep leaving out food and water as they need to have replenished their fat stores ready for the mating season and they also need energy to search for a suitable nesting place. 

 May is the official mating season for hedgehogs with females giving birth to their little hoglets in June. In July, hoglets will start emerging from their nests on the lookout for food and will slowly become more and more independent from their mothers. Hoglets are usually fully self-reliant by August.

 As autumn comes back around, some female hedgehogs may have had their second litter of hoglets, although later litters might struggle to gain the weight needed for hibernation. Juveniles weighing under 300g may not yet have been weaned or could have been orphaned if found on their own. If you happen to find one contact your local specialised hedgehog rescue, who will be able to provide the specialist care needed to support juveniles in time for winter. Nesting for hedgehogs begins in October and they will be eating plenty of food ready for hibernation again in November!

Keeping some fresh, clean water and some yummy Spike’s Hedgehog Food available throughout the year will support your garden visitors each season and help keep them off the list of threatened species.

 What temperature do hedgehogs come out of hibernation?

 Hedgehogs do prefer the weather to be warmer so will emerge when temperatures reach around five-degree Celsius, which tends to be in the month of March. However, it may be as late as April until all of our spiky friends are active again.

 Although the majority of hedgehogs hibernate at some point during the year (some may not start hibernating until around christmas time) if the temperature stays relatively warm (above 5 degrees) then some hogs have been known to not hibernate at all. This has been documented in the South of England where temperatures remain warmer than the North throughout the year.

Another one of the key reasons hedgehogs may not hibernate is the abundance of food being provided by all of you hedgehog heroes! This has enabled many hedgehogs to get nice and fat, meaning they can survive the winter without the need to protect fat stores by hibernating. No matter the time of year, if you see any hedgehogs out and about in the day time, make sure to contact your nearest Hedgehog Rescue and they will be able to advise you on the best course of action.

 Do you have spiky friends in your garden? Make sure you share your pictures with us on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.