Spring has sprung; the hogs are out!

Paul Sawer

Spring has sprung which means one thing; hedgehogs will be emerging from their sleepy slumbers and will be on the lookout for food!

Spring is a busy time for wildlife - toads are migrating, birds are establishing territories and bats are emerging from torpor. It's a hectic time for hedgehogs too - after several months of reduced activity to see out the colder months, hedgehogs will be awake and eager to refuel for the busy season ahead.

From May through to September, hedgehogs will be travelling far and wide in search of mates. Hedgehogs are promiscuous critters and a female can be courted by up to 10 males in a season. Snorting, grunting and shuffling are all too common as males circle and chase females through the breeding season in an attempt to woo them. Once the deed is done, females will be busy building breeding nests whilst males will continue on their travels to encounter as many other females as they can. This is a time of year in which hedgehogs may be seen out during the day - so long as they are purposeful (eg building a nest or foraging), then this isn't something to be overly worried about. If you are concerned about an ill or injured looking hedgehog, then please give British Hedgehog Preservation Society a call for advice.

Breeding nests are often made of medium sized deciduous leaves and require a support structure to keep them in place. In gardens these can often be found in compost heaps, under shed decking or within log piles, making them vulnerable to disturbance. Hedgehogs can abandon or even eat their offspring if disturbed, depending on the stage of development at the time, so be mindful of breeding hedgehogs when you are pottering around the garden this summer.

If you are lucky enough to have nesting hedgehogs in your garden, you may be treated to the sight of mother and hoglets exploring the nearby area on foraging trips.  If you see a hedgehog or would like to log your hedgehog-friendly garden, then now is the perfect time. Head to our online map here.