The Scottish SPCA has welcomed the first batch of hoglets of the year and is asking people to be aware of when hedgehogs need help.
Scotland’s animal welfare charity has been caring for young hedgehogs at its National Wildlife Rescue Centre since the first arrivals in June.
Last year, Scotland’s animal welfare charity saw a record number of hedgehog admissions to its dedicated wildlife hospital. Almost 2,500 hedgehogs were cared for over the year and in September and November 2019, almost 1,000 hedgehogs arrived.
Steven Gray, wildlife manager said: “The numbers we saw last year were unprecedented. Due to the time of year when many hedgehogs arrived, they didn’t increase their body mass enough to survive hibernating in the wild so they had to stay with us until spring.
“Hedgehogs will have two litters a year and we started to see the first hoglets arrive in June. We want to keep young wildlife with their parents where possible so people should only call us if they are certain the animal needs our help.
“Generally speaking, if people spot a hedgehog out during the day then we would advise people to contact us but around birthing time, adult hedgehogs might just be moving from one nesting site to another. Any adult that looks in good body condition is likely to be doing this and they do not need our help.
“If a hoglet or young hedgehog is on its own or if a hedgehog looks thin or wobbly then people should contact our animal helpline.
“Hedgehog mums can get very stressed and in some cases may kill or eat her offspring if she is in distress. We would ask people to be mindful of this and try to cause as little upset as possible. If you are aware of a nest in your garden, try not to continuously check it as this causes the mother a great deal of stress each time.
“We have had a few casualties come in who have been injured by garden appliances such as strimmers and some whose nests have been disturbed. We would ask that people are careful when in their gardens and to check for wildlife in long grass, leaf litter and other areas before beginning any work.
“If a hedgehog nest is disturbed then try and relocate it as close to the original location as possible. Removing a mother hedgehog is always a last resort when relocating is not possible.
“It’s at this time of year that the numbers of hedgehogs begin to rise and we can struggle to keep up with demand for items such as food and other items. If people are able to donate these essential products then they can do so by dropping them at our centre or via our Amazon wishlist.”
Donations can be handed in to the centre located at Fishcross, FK10 3AN. Please note that due to contamination risks, used soft materials such as towels and bedding cannot be accepted at this time. People can find the Amazon wishlist here.