Hedgehogs are one of the nation's favourite mammals, once often seen bumbling about in gardens and parks. But in the UK, the number of hedgehogs has fallen from 35 million in the 1950s to an estimated one million now, so you may have noticed how much less often you see one these days.
What's happening to hedgehogs in Maidenhead?
Hedgehogs numbers are likely to be still declining in Maidenhead, though we have no definitive data. You may have noticed that you see fewer dead hedgehogs on roads than you once did, for example, because overall their numbers are crashing.
We are lucky to have a local vets, The Pines, who have experienced staff who can care for injured, young or ill hedgehogs. In a typical year, they see about 50 hedgehogs in the surgery, which illustrates the problem of roads for these animals. We also have a local hedgehog rehabilitator, Amber Glossop in Ascot, and we are also only 40 minutes from St. Tiggywinkles near Thame, which is the world's most famous wildlife hospital, which began its work caring for injured hoggies.
What can I do?
Hedgehogs need to be able to travel from garden to garden to find food. Make sure that there are gaps or holes in fences or gates like the one in the photo below to enable hedgehogs to roam at night to find food. They can travel up to a mile a night.
If you find an injured hedgehog, put it in a box immediately, keep it warm overnight, give it some water and a little cat food. Then contact either The Pines vets in Maidenhead on 01628 776699, or take it to St. Tiggywinkles animal hospital (open 24/7, no need to call ahead of arriving). There is no charge for treating hedgehogs but a donation is usually given and appreciated. See more on our wildlife emergency page.
If you see a smaller hedgehog as winter approaches, they may need to be rescued. They have to be 650g and around 20cm in length to survive hibernation (uncurled, not including the tail). The Pines vets in Maidenhead are taking in and caring for small hedgehogs. Call them on 01628 776699.
There are more details at this link on how to care for a hedgehog once you’ve found one, www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/found-a-hedgehog.php.