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Spines and Stripes

It is definitely hedgehog season with lots of baby hedgehogs filling our orphan room. As we get to Autumn, adult hedgehogs that have had late litters sometimes decide to desert their babies. It is more important for the mother to find enough food to get up to hibernation weight before the cold weather sets in. If you feed hedgehogs daily, they will often keep coming even in the winter. The only reason that animals hibernate is when their food disappears. If there is a guaranteed food source, they will probably still come. Hedgehogs also wake up a few times through the winter and move from one nest to another so again, it is nothing to worry about unless they are small.

Can you help us feed the many hedgehogs we’ll care for this winter? We are low on kitten meat in jelly; there a couple of varieties listed on our Amazon wishlist and we’d be very grateful if you could donate some:

Do I have to get up so early?

Garden birds can be fed all year around and become even more reliant on food through the winter. This is why there is usually more variety of birds in the winter and you may see more secretive birds being attracted to your garden. Please remember that Avian Flu is very much still with us and that is why, at Secret World, we cannot take in swans, seabirds and waders and that is likely to continue through the cold months. Deaths of several small birds should be reported to DEFRA. Keeping your bird table clean will help against infection.

Badgers don’t hibernate but they certainly start to slow down and it is during the period that the females have a deep sleep that the cubs will start to grow and be born anytime from January to March. Because most of them lay on fat through the autumn with all the berries and seeds that are available to them, they are not so bothered about going out for food – especially if it is cold. Of course, the grey squirrel is the clever one as they store their food – as long as they can remember where they have buried it!

On November 2nd we will be holding an evening event at the McMillan Theatre in Bridgwater. Martin Hughes-Games is sharing the evening with me. I will be talking about the stripey animals I work with, but Martin will be enthralling us with stories of tigers that he has filmed. It’s an evening that will suit all age groups and we hope we will see you there.

Tickets available via the McMillan Theatre website: or call the box office on 01278 556677. Tickets cost £18 for adults and £15 for under 14s.

As usual we will be available for advice and rescue and if you have any concerns about the Avian Flu, do get in touch. Telephone 01278 783250

Pauline Kidner

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