Today, I made a donation to the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, to give hedgehogs a helping hand this Autumn. I donated £31 to represent the 31 days of October.
Why do hedgehogs need help in Autumn?
At this time of year, many hedgehogs are vulnerable.
Female hedgehogs usually give birth to two litters each year, and the second litter is often born in late summer. This means that the baby hedgehogs are still small in October when the weather gets colder. At this time, most hedgehogs will be going into hibernation.
Hedgehogs need to be a certain bodyweight to survive hibernation, so these small baby hedgehogs can be in trouble if the weather gets cold before they are big enough. Climate change is pushing the hedgehogs’ breeding season later, so this is an increasing issue.
These young hedgehogs are called Autumn Juveniles, and you can find out more information about them on the British Hedgehog Preservation Society website.
Another reason why hedgehogs are vulnerable at this time of year is that many people are making bonfires, and hedgehogs sometimes hibernate in them. Because of this, it is very important to check bonfires before lighting them!
How else can we help hedgehogs?
As well as donating to charities that help hedgehogs, we can do the following things in our own gardens:
- Light bonfires on the same day that they are made, or otherwise check bonfires for hedgehogs before lighting them.
- Be aware of Autumn Juveniles and rescue them if you find one (the link I shared above explains how).
- Put out dog or cat food and water for hedgehogs.
- Do not use pesticides or slug pellets in your garden because these are toxic to hedgehogs.
- You can find more tips for helping hedgehogs here.
Other ways to make a difference this season
Hedgehogs are not the only creatures that need help this Autumn. Here are some other ways you can help people and animals:
- Donate to food banks to help the homeless who may be struggling in the colder weather.
- If you grew and harvested fruits or vegetables this year, share them with your friends and neighbours, or donate them to a shelter.
- Keep your pets indoors on Halloween and Bonfire night so that they won’t be frightened by trick-or-treaters or fireworks.
- If the weather gets cold, avoid using anti-freeze or de-icer on your car because it is lethal to pets and wildlife.
- Donate to any animal charity because they could always use the help!
Are you doing your bit for hedgehogs and other wildlife?
October is a fun time of year for most of us, but we need to remember how the colder weather can affect less fortunate people and wildlife. I hope some of these tips have been helpful for you, whether or not you can spare the money to donate to any causes.
Do you see hedgehogs near your home? Have you ever fed them or rescued one? Let me know in the comments!