Hedgehogs in April by Kay Bullen,
Trustee, British Hedgehog Preservation Society.
The majority of hedgehogs will usually wake up during April and will be preparing for their year ahead. The first priority is to replace some of the weight they have lost during hibernation and they will be very thirsty so make sure some clean ground level water is available for them. Some may come out of hibernation in a very poor condition and may be found out in the day. These will need to be rescued and passed on to a hedgehog rehabilitator.
If you have a hedgehog highway running through your garden make sure it has not become blocked up during the winter, access through many gardens is necessary to keep populations viable. In the breeding season the males can travel several miles throughout the night in search of “love”.
The males do not stay around to help raise the hoglets, they are nomadic wandering over a large area. They do not have territories to defend and any fighting is most likely be over a female hedgehog or a food dish. The females tend to have a smaller home patch in which they raise their hoglets, the size of the home patch is likely to reflect the amount of food available in the local area.
Hedgehogs tend to be solitary creatures only coming together for courtship or as a family unit when the hoglets are dependent on mum. If hedgehogs should meet up there is often a lot of huffing and hissing, they also can do this when they feel threatened.
Whilst not unheard of, April is generally a little early for hoglets to be born but there may well be some noisy courtship! There will be a lot of huffing initially and the male will circle the female, waiting for her to settle down before a very careful mating begins.
If you want to attract hedgehogs to your garden have a look at the BHPS website below for instructions on making a quick and easy feeding station and for more ways to make your garden safer for your visiting hedgehogs. However firstly you need to make sure hedgehogs can get into your garden by creating a hedgehog highway visit www.hedgehogstreet.org and see Link your Garden.
If you are concerned or just need advice about any hedgehogs contact the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, they can give general advice and perhaps details of a local hedgehog rehabilitator that you can contact. Contact them on 01584 890801 or for general advice visit their website www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk.