During the autumn hedgehogs are preparing for hibernation by eating lots of their favourite invertebrate foods in order to accumulate fat. Hedgehogs probably need to consume 60-80g wet weight per night, and unlike other animals, such as squirrels, they do not hide, or cache, food for later. As hedgehogs are nocturnal, you will usually see them rooting for food in the night, but they can occasionally be seen during dusk and dawn too.
You can help hedgehogs and ‘Give a ‘Hog a Home’ by constructing your own hedgehog hibernacula: https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/help-hedgehogs/hedgehog-homes/. Remember, hedgehogs can only access these houses if they can access your garden. To help hedgehogs access your garden you could also build a Hedgehog Highway: https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/help-hedgehogs/link-your-garden/.
At this time of year hedgehogs are looking for warm, sheltered areas to build their nests so make sure to check your bonfires for hedgehogs before lighting them on bonfire night!
Hedgehogs are now officially classified as vulnerable to extinction in Britain in the new IUCN Red List. A reduction in habitat availability is likely because of agricultural intensification, pesticide use and modern garden design. A high proportion of the population is killed through vehicle collisions. Predation and possible competitive exclusion of hedgehogs from suitable habitats by badgers may also have affected population size.
The Mammal Society is involved in several projects aiming to understand the loss of this much-loved mammal and you can help us with this research. Let us know when you last spotted a hedgehog by completing our #HogWatch2018 survey. It only takes a few minutes and will help us to map hedgehog sightings across the UK. For more information click here.
For more information on hedgehogs click here.
To download a hedgehog field signs factsheet click here.