HEDGEHOGS : erinaceus europaeus.
Hedgehogs are a rare sight in West Dunbartonshire, more so because they are nocturnal coming out at dusk. Their numbers have dwindled dramatically in recent years, yet they seem to be coping in urban areas better than in the countryside. The reasons seem to be that back gardens and parks offer quieter hiding spots and sometimes treats left out for them, while in the countryside hedgerows and field margins are lost to intensive farming. The decline appears to be even worse in Scotland than south of the border.
Hedgehogs eat all kinds of invertebrates, as well as amphibians, birds eggs and anything else they can catch. They particularly like big, crunchy beetles, earthworms and slugs, making them a gardener’s best friend.
The Scottish SPCA notes :
Despite population decline, we are helping more and more hedgehogs every year. In 2018, we cared for over 1,300.
Hedgehogs are nocturnal, if you do find one out during the day it is most likely unwell or struggling to find food. You should give us a call as we’ll be able to assess whether it needs to be taken to our National Wildlife Rescue Centre to be rehabilitated. You can reach us on 03000 999 999.
Hedgehogs hibernate over winter, so if you see one out and about during the colder months it also needs assistance. Get in touch and a Scottish SPCA animal rescue officer will collect it.
If possible, try to safely contain the hedgehog when you contact us to ensure we can safely remove it and give it the care it desperately needs. Though its spikes may seem intimidating, you can safely pick one up using gardening gloves or a thick towel.
If you want to provide some nutrition whilst you wait for our animal rescue officer to arrive, put it in a secure box with some cat/dog food and fresh water.
If you come across a hedgehog in broad daylight and not trying to hide, it is most likely unwell, as this one. If you can get it to an animal rescue centre such as the RSCPA, then do so, but otherwise leave it alone. it could be infectious.
SCOTTISH SPCA : https://www.scottishspca.org/advice/wildlife/land/hedgehogs
SCOTTISH WILDLIFE TRUST : https://scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk/species/hedgehog/