We occasionally need new volunteers to foster our hedgehogs during the winter months.
We will provide you with hibernation cages and ask that they are placed in an unheated shed, greenhouse or garage with natural daylight. It would not be acceptable to keep a hedgehog in a dark environment 24 hours a day even during hibernation. If a greenhouse is used you must ensure the temperature does not get too hot during sunny days.
Whilst awake the hedgehog will need to be cleaned out every morning as they are nocturnal. If you have not cared for a hedgehog before you will be surprised just how smelly, and how much mess they can make in one night! Therefore, a clean bed for the day is essential.
You will need to weigh and record his weight weekly on a sheet provided. Any weight loss should be reported asap. You can cease weighing once the hedgehog is hibernating.
Advice on your hogs diet will be given when you collect him. Those that are being fed tinned meat should be fed at dusk. (This will prevent attracting flies) Continue feeding as advised until he stops eating. This probably means he is now in hibernation and you will only need supply him with a few good quality cat biscuits incase he wakes for a snack. The biscuits should be changed weekly (or when they go soft). Don't forget fresh water should be available at all times.
The hog box should be checked daily even when hibernating. Some will wake several times during hibernation to eat a few biscuits, have a drink or defecate! Not all hedgehogs hibernate, don't worry it just means you have to continue to clean them out, and feed them daily.
All hedgehogs must then be returned to us at the Haven in the spring. From there they will be released back into the wild in safe areas that have been checked by Haven volunteers. Due to financial and staffing interests, we ask that fosterers live within 5 miles of Colchester, Witham or Frinton unless you are willing to use your own transport to collect / return your hedgehog.
Please contact us if you would like to help.