Baby hedgehogs in Leicestershire are too underweight to survive hibernation in winter

By Molly Kerridge

Hundreds of baby hedgehogs have been saved during the wet weather in Leicestershire, only to be considered too underweight to survive hibernation.

The Leicestershire Wildlife Hospital has been overwhelmed this year with the number of rescues, with 2019 being recorded as its busiest year yet.

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Ang Downham, the centre’s founder, told the BBC: “We have had babies coming in non-stop, tiny, tiny babies – we’ve never had such small ones before and it’s pitiful to see.

“It’s overwhelming. I think we’re fighting a losing battle, the weather is so against them and they do not seem to be adapting to the changes.”

This year has had the seventh wettest summer since records began in 1910, according to the Met Office.

This means that a large proportion of the hoglets born in the summer drowned due to the heavy rain, which forced the mothers to produce another litter.

However, this created more issues, as the second litter would not have enough time to ‘fatten up’ enough to make sure they had enough energy to survive the winter in hibernation.

A healthy hedgehog should weigh 600g in order to ensure a safe hibernation, but some of the hoglets have been brought to Leicestershire Wildlife Hospital weighing only 85g.

Problems such as the wet weather, as well as the destruction of habitats means that more and more hedgehogs are being put in danger as the bad weather starts.

The wildlife centre currently has over 200 hoglets in it’s care, which is double the number they had this time last year.

“This is a massive, massive decline,” Mrs Downham added. “We need to do everything we can to prevent it.”

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  1. […] Molly Kerridge uncovers why so many are underweight and how the Leicestershire Wildlife Hospital is stepping in to save them. […]

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