Appeal to help hedgehogs survive the winter
STAFF at a West Lancs animal charity are urging families to create hedgehog-friendly habitats in their gardens to help their prickly friends put on weight in the run-up to hibernation!
Sally McDerby from the Woodlands Sanctuary in Holmeswood says autumn is the most important time of the year for hedgehogs as they need to make the magic number of 750g in body mass to be able to survive the winter.
And she warns that although extra foods such as mealworms can boost weight-gain, well-meaning hedgehog-lovers could actually put them in danger if they overdo offering them the treat!
She said: “It’s widely known that hedgehog numbers are declining, but more people are becoming aware of this and are doing their bit to help. As with most animals there is a lot of misunderstanding about the best food for them and this can cause more harm than good if we get it wrong.
“Mealworms are becoming an increasingly popular option for hog - and they certainly do them.
“Unfortunately, this does not mean that they are the most ideal food for them, or that they should make up the majority of the hogs’ diet.
“A small amount daily can be part of a nutritious and balanced diet, but they are very high in phosphorus and too much can cause calcium to be leached from the bones, making them soft and bendy, which can make walking impossible for the hogs and affecting their chance of survival.
“At Woodlands, we use a specially blended mix of high-quality, meat-based cat kibble, with a very small amount of seeds, nuts and insects. This can be bought from us, with all proceeds going straight back to the charity.
“Hedgehogs only hibernate for around 10 days at a time and need a reliable food source throughout the whole winter. If you are kind enough to leave food out for our prickly friends, please ensure you continue to do so throughout the winter.”