As the Release weekend is almost upon us I thought it would be worth posting a few reminders.
At the end of the 2 week period the pen may be opened, and the hedgehog is free to go. Some may stay and make use of the house and food for days or sometimes weeks afterwards while others will go at the first opportunity.
Once you are sure the hedgehog has left, the pen and house should be emptied and cleaned. Suitable cleaners are both antibacterial and antifungal. Examples include Anigene or Johnston’s small animal cage cleaner.
Hedgehogs are becoming increasingly reliant upon food left out for them because the loss of habitat and pesticides are reducing their natural food sources, so we hope that you will continue to provide food and water each night. Water in a shallow dish is extremely important in hot dry weather. It is advisable to use a feeding station so that local cats don’t eat all the food! This can be made easily and cheaply by cutting a hole in a plastic storage box and using it to cover the food.
Hedgehogs need to roam through many, many gardens to find food and mates. No single garden is large enough in isolation. Barriers such as solid fences and walls often prevent their movement. Hedges and natural boundaries are better for hedgehogs as they allow them to roam free and can provide shelter. If you already have a wall or fence try creating a small hole, 13cm by 13cm, (use the template) out which will enable hedgehogs to move between yours and your neighbours’ gardens, without encouraging pets to wander.
Loose netting can entangle hedgehogs – ensure it is kept taught or stored inside when not in use. Avoid leaving sheds open as hedgehogs may wander inside and become trapped. Ensure drains are safely covered. Hedgehogs are rather prone to getting stuck down holes!
Please do not disturb your hedgehogs as the mother is liable to desert her babies or even eat them if she is! Baby hedgehogs will leave the nest at 5 weeks and be independent at 6 weeks, If you want to monitor your hedgehogs then please request the use of the trail camera as this will not disturb them and will allow us to see them coming and going.