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Who has the right idea!

December arrives and we are all so busy making sure that everything is organised ready for the special day. Things are very different out in the countryside.

Badgers have put on weight with all the autumn fruits available to them and now is the time of year that they will stay in their warm chamber if the weather is really cold outside. For the females this period is important to them as the embryos from their mating will not implant and the cubs grow ready to be born mainly in February and March.

When it is really cold, steam can sometimes be seen coming from the sett where the adults will be sleeping together, warm and safe underground.

Hedgehogs will be busy snoring as they hibernate through the winter but they will, in times of mild weather wake up and sometimes move to a different hibernaculum. Dormice also hibernate curled up tightly in a ball of moss so tightly weaved so that they will not get wet in the tiny crevice in the ground under the hedge slightly protected from really cold weather. They also wake up in January taking pollen from catkins before returning to their sleep.

Otters and Foxes seem to be oblivious of the extreme weather and remain active throughout the winter. Certainly when we have juvenile otters on site, we have seen them break the ice on their pond and go in for a dip – their fur is so dense that they are completely insulated.

As for the birds, wrens will often sleep in a nest together to keep warm and of course, here in Somerset we see the murmuration of the starlings where thousands of birds flock together to help keep themselves warm and safe from predation.

It’s our garden birds that need us to remember them over the Christmas period with fresh water, seed and fat balls so that they can survive. Hopefully not too much food will be stolen by the grey squirrel who will often raid a bird feeder if there is an opportunity. They don’t hibernate but store their food buried in the ground so there is always a larder to fall back on.

We mark the end of the year with a look back at not the best of years but we are seeing the future in a more favourable light. Everyone from Secret World Wildlife Rescue wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Please visit Secret World Wildlife to see our selection of Wildlife Christmas gifts.

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