Posted on 27 February, 2016Comments (0)

HART Wildlife Update

HART Wildlife Update

The variety of wildlife seen at the hospital is very dependent on the weather and time of year. Traditionally, March is the month when hedgehogs start to come out of hibernation; often large male hedgehogs are the first to emerge. If you think you have hedgehogs hibernating in your garden and want to know when they wake up you can place a stick or piece of rolled-up paper in front of the nest to see if it is disturbed – if it is moved the chances are the hedgehog has been up and about. Hibernation can take its toll, leaving emerging animals dehydrated and hungry after their period of sleep. Signs that a hedgehog is in trouble include being seen out during the day and having an unsteady, wobbly walk. If you come across one you are worried about please provide a bowl of water and some food; meaty wet cat or dog food, mealworms, peanuts etc can be a life saver and ring HART for advice. Always avoid putting down bread and milk, as although they will eat it, it can cause diarrhoea and add to their dehydration problem; hedgehog are lactose intolerant (the sugar found in milk), as are many mammals including some people.

If you have a pond in your garden, it is probably providing a valuable water source for all wildlife species. A pond with sloping sides provides safe access for hedgehogs and reduces the chances of accidental drowning. Sadly, every year we hear of hedgehogs that have fallen into ponds and drowned – providing a slope or ladder can prevent this.

March is also the time of year we start seeing baby animals once again arriving at the hospital. Baby rabbits and squirrels, as well as nestling birds such as collared doves, woodpigeons and blackbirds all start arriving. Many of these youngsters are brought to us after nest disturbance. The better weather encourages all of us outside and many people start to work in their gardens clearing undergrowth, cutting back hedges and dismantling sheds. Please keep an eye out for resident wildlife, for example it isn’t unknown for foxes to made dens under sheds or for mice to make a home in compost heaps! Be careful when trimming hedges as it is still an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to intentionally take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built.

March is also the month we see Tawny Owl chicks admitted. These youngsters are often picked-up from the base of trees as finders think they have been abandoned or are lost. They are actually very good climbers and using their beaks and talons are able to clamber back-up into trees with relative ease; additionally, adults will feed young on the ground as well if need be.

If you find a wildlife casualty or have any questions then please ring HART for advice on 0913 580 0001 or visit our web site, where you can download our free fact sheet ‘Want to help…… Baby Birds’.

Charmian Greenland-Jones

[Please note that this message is not posted on behalf of Bentworth Parish Council and does not necessarily reflect the Parish Council’s policy]

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