13, June, 2019
What is an autumn juvenile?
Autumn juveniles are second littler hogs. They are born later in the year and therefore have a shorter time to get up to hibernation weight. An autumn juvenile hedgehog is one which is old enough to be away from its mother, yet too small to hibernate for the winter. The autumn juvenile season usually begins in September and ends in November. Being an autumn juvenile can cause problems for a hedgehog, as it will not have enough time to build up the necessary amount of fat in order to hibernate for the winter due to long, cold nights and lack of food availability.
How can I tell if an autumn juvenile needs help?
Yearlings will need to get their weight to 600g or more in order to give themselves the best chances of survival. It is highly unlikely that a hedgehog will survive if it weighs 450g or less.
How can I help autumn juveniles?
If you would like to do all that you can to help our spiky friends, a good way to start is by providing a good food source for them. It is advised that food should be left out for hedgehogs all year round nowadays, as some hogs will be seen well into the winter season and have been sighted even past Christmas. Through the winter months, it might be a good idea to provide Spike’s Crunchy Dry Food, always ensuring that there is clean, fresh water available for our friends.
If you spot a hedgehog out in the day, it could be a tell-tale sign that the hog is poorly and needs medical attention. If you see a hedgehog which appears to be in need of assistance, take it inside, place in a high-sided cardboard box lined with a sheet, towel without holes or ripped up newspaper and ensure that the hog has heat by placing a well-wrapped hot water bottle inside the box. If you are placing a hot water bottle in the box, make sure that the hedgehog has enough room to move away from the hot water bottle to avoid overheating. It is vital to keep this hot water bottle warm, as letting it go cold will do more harm than good. Ensure that you check the temperature of the hot water bottle very frequently and change the water if necessary. Some autumn juveniles may need over-wintering and the best place for this is at a hedgehog rescue.
Once you have taken all of the advised steps stated above, you can contact The British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) on 01584 890 801 who will further assist you on next steps. If you think that the hedgehog needs urgent or professional medical attention, you can take it to your local veterinary practice.
With reference to:
‘Autumn juveniles’: https://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/leaflets/L15-Autumn-Juveniles.pdf
‘Autumn juvenile hedgehog care’: https://www.arkwildlife.co.uk/Wildlife/Post/179/Autumn_Juvenile_Hedgehog_Care.html