Hedgehogs are one of our “hibernating” species. Most people believe that hedgehogs go to sleep throughout the winter and wake up in spring but that is not always the case. If we have a mild winter as last year, hedgehogs may awaken and leave their nest looking for food. When the weather becomes cold again then they will go back into hibernation.

Therefore it is possible to see hedgehogs out and about during a mild winter. Sadly there will not be the food needed in the wild to sustain them, so if you believe there to be hedgehogs hibernating in your garden it is a good idea to leave some food nearby along with a bowl of water.
If you do see hedgehogs during this winter ask yourself a few questions.
• Is it out in the day?
• Is it sitting appearing to “sunbathe”?
• Does it look small or thin?
• Does it look unwell?
• Is it staggering around and disorientated?

If the answer to any of these is yes then the hedgehog will need to be taken to a rescue centre. The British Hedgehog Preservation Society has a helpline and will be able to tell you where your local centre is.
• How big is the hedgehog? (A good hibernation weight is 650 grams which is approximately 1 ½ lbs), but remember if it has been asleep for a while it will have lost some of its weight.
• Does it look very small? Try and envisage an equivalent sized object in your mind i.e. a tennis ball size, a small beach ball size. If the hedgehog appears to be well but quite small i.e. size of a tennis ball then it will need to be taken in and overwintered.
• Does it seem well in itself, only coming out at dusk or later then leave the hedgehog alone but try to help it with supplementary food and water.

So what do we feed them.
Cat and Dog food meat flavours in jelly cat biscuit or you can buy Hedgehog food.
This is our latest hedgehog house/feeding station, we are using it as a feeding station in our garden with the added brick tunnel to make sure no unwanted visitors get the food. The roof lifts off so it's easy to get the food in and to clean so can be left in a permanent postion in a corner of your garden, preferably near a boundary.
It is better to use dried food as the smell is not as strong so is less likely to attract cats. Also remember to leave out fresh water this is very important for all wildlife.

You can also make one.
Take an under bed storage box and cut out a small hole in one of the edges about the size of a cd, cover with duct tape any of the edges that are rough.
Place a brick inside the box and put the food on the other side this helps the hogs feel safe and stops cats being able to twist round to get to the food or other animals getting their paws inside to drag the food out .
Hedgehogs like meaty cat or dog wet food but we tend to use dried food, small cat biscuit or you can buy wild hedgehog food a few sunflower hearts and a sprinkling of meal worm (but not too many).
Replace the lid and put a heavy brick on top to stop larger animals knocking it over to get the food out.
And once again fresh water.