By Xanthe Palmer
ABNORMALLY warm weather this autumn has left hedgehog hospitals overwhelmed with baby hedgehogs brought in by the public.
The warm weather this year has meant female hedgehogs have had a late litter or an extra litter.
Baby hedgehogs, known as ‘hoglets’, need to weigh at least 600 grams to survive the winter but rescue centres are taking in creatures weighing as little as 100 grams.
Andrew’s Hedgehog Hospital in Appleby near Scunthorpe has had nearly 100 sick and underweight hedgehogs during this season, a record high for the centre.
Veronica Tett, 75, joint owner, said: “If they’re not up to weight, they will still hibernate but won’t wake up.
“They lose 1 gram a day during hibernation, and if they’re only 100 grams they can’t survive.”
Frank Tett, 77, joint owner, said: “We usually get hoglets in weighing between 200-300 grams in weight.
“Once we take them in they need looking after until they are up to weight and when the weather is warm enough for them to survive, which is usually March time.”
Tiggywinkles wildlife rescue centre in Buckinghamshire has also had a high intake of poorly hoglets.
Francesca Campanaro, 35, senior wildlife nurse at Tiggywinkles, advises people on what to do if they find a hoglet.
She said: “If you see a hedgehog out in the evening and they seem uninjured and big enough, they’re probably just foraging for food as they do because they’re nocturnal animals.
“However if you are worried they are underweight weigh them at home on some scales.
“If they weigh any less than 600 grams pop them in a cardboard box with some water and food, either cat or dog food and take them to your nearest wildlife centre or hospital to make sure they’re okay.
“Provided they don’t need medical attention, you can foster them at home over the winter to make sure they survive.”