I am sure many people, like me, did not know overwintering hedgehogs (connexionfrance.com May) was illegal. I did this first in 2005/6 with three very underweight youngsters. On release in March they were in excellent form, weighing 850, 900 and 1,300g.
This year has been the worst as we found six. The last weighed only 125g and needed bottle feeding. When freed it was 1,147g. They need to be 500-600g to survive.
My ‘bible’ has been the Pat Morris book Hedgehogs and I have also spoken to both St Tiggywinkles UK, and Le Sanctuaire des Hérissons, France, who offered help sheets. My local vet has also been called upon.
I had tried to find a hedgehog rescue centre close by, but no luck.
Thanks to the above book plus many calls to St Tiggywinkles, particularly this winter for the 125g baby, I’m pleased to have had the chance to save a few over the years.
The rules to be allowed to overwinter hedgehogs (have two years’ supervision from a qualified hedgehog carer, or a vet, and have done a 20-hour training course) are unrealistic.
I had not heard of the Sauvons les Hérissons group but will sign their petition to the new Ecology Minister, tinyurl.com/mt9czar.
Mike ADDLEY, by email