July looks set to be ‘hectic hedgehog’ month for the RSCPA after calls about the prickly creatures peaked during this time last year.
A total of 10,644 calls about hedgehogs were made to the RSPCA’s national helpline in 2018, 1867 of which made in July alone. This compares with just 133 calls taken in February of the same year.
Across 2018, an average 5.7 hedgehogs per day were admitted to one of the charity’s four specialist wildlife centres, but in the peak month of July, this rose to an average of 12.4 per day or one every two hours.
The RSPCA’s Scientific Officer, Evie Button, said: “We receive more call about hedgehogs than about almost any other wild animal. With a total of 10,644 calls take last year, averaged out, we get a call every hour of every day relating to these iconic animals.
“July is our busiest month for hedgehogs. Not only do calls about hedgehog’s peak, but so do admissions to our four wildlife centres as members of the public and our own officers bring in orphaned, sick or injured animals for treatment and rehabilitation.”
The RSPCA says that some of the top reasons given by callers for contacting the animal charity about a hedgehog were that they had found either a sick or injured animal (6067), an orphaned or new born juvenile (1252) or an animal that was trapped or entangled (449).
Evie continued: “Because we get so many calls about injured or trapped animals, we have some useful tips to help keep hedgehogs safe in the garden. Please remember to remove sports and fruit netting, cover drains and holes, check before using a strimmer or mower, look in compost heaps before forking over and avoid using slug pellets as these are poisonous to hedgehogs.
“We also receive calls from concerned members of the public who have seen a baby hedgehog – a hoglet – on its own. Our advice is firstly to check whether they actually need rescuing by watching from a distance. Generally, it’s best to leave them alone, but there are a few things you can do to check if the hoglet does need help. If their eyes are open and they’re not in immediate danger, monitor them from a distance. If you’re concerned, you can try offering food and fresh water.”
Evie added: “During summer months, only intervene straight away if you find a baby hedgehog in immediate danger (such as on a road) and the mother has been killed or if their eyes are closed and they are alone.”
More details on what to do if you find a sick, injured or orphaned hedgehog, as well as how to help them in your garden, can be found on the RSPCA’s website.
To report concerns about an animal, you can contact the RSPCA’s Hotline on 0300 1234 999.