Two young male hedgehogs, who learners have named Fall and Autumn, have been found in local gardens and are too underweight to survive hibernation over the coming months. They will therefore be housed in a special indoor hutch and kept awake whilst they gain weight before being released back into the wild next Spring.
Derby College Animal Care lecturer Abby Bruce, a former wildlife hospital veterinary nurse, said: "The arrival of Fall and Autumn will be a great project for the learners over the next few months as they monitor and take care of them ahead of their release. "They are adorable animals and are settling in well so our task is to keep them awake and fatten them up so that they stand the best chance of survival back in the wild."
The Animal Care students have also produced a fact sheet on how to care for hedgehogs found over the winter months.
Key facts include:
- Hedgehogs must weigh at least 450g to survive and check their weight at night not day as this can be an indication of poor health.
- Don't disturb a sleeping hedgehog as it uses up vital fat reserves.
- Although they do hibernate they don't sleep through the whole winter and may wake up periodically in search of food
- Leave out cat or dog food and just water