The Trust has issued advice to be used if people find hedgehogs in trouble after receiving a number of calls for help in recent days – and the changing climate could be a factor.
As the Autumn colours start to show, Durham Wildlife Trust often receives calls concerning juvenile hedgehogs, and sometimes the animals are brought to the Head Office at Rainton Meadows near Houghton-le-Spring.
Three people contacted Rainton Meadows over the weekend of August 31/September 1 alone, following a series of calls in the preceding week.
While the Trust aims to conserve wildlife from the Tees to the Tyne, it is not an animal rescue charity and has neither the facilities nor expertise to look after injured or sick animals. To help, it has now issued useful advice for people finding hedgehogs.
Trustee Michael Coates said: “We have received numerous phone calls in the past week alone. At the moment, the most common enquiries or deliveries are juvenile hedgehogs. These are young hedgehogs that are old enough to leave the nest but will be too small to hibernate when winter arrives.
“As the climate in the UK gets warmer and frosts start later, hogs appear to be having far more second litters than traditionally was the case. Sadly, a late autumn litter are unlikely to survive the winter as they do not have access to food long enough before they need to hibernate.
“Often seen in daylight as they are underweight and dehydrated, they get collected by members of the public who are then unsure what to do.”
Put the hog in a box, along with warm bedding such as shredded paper or an old towel.
Give water in a shallow dish, but most definitely NOT milk, as hogs are lactose intolerant and will become ill.
Give meat-based cat or dog food (wet or dry).
Keep the animal somewhere warm. If it feels cold, then add a wrapped bottle containing hot water to the bedding.
Call the Hedgehog Preservation Society on 01584 890 801 to find details of your local rescue centre.
Alternatively, many vets have links to rescue centres and can give you contact details. If the animal is clearly injured or ill, many vets will also give initial care before passing on the hog.