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How to give a helping hand to West Norfolk's hedgehogs this winter



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As hibernating season approaches for our prickly pals, its not always easy for them to find a warm place to stay throughout those cold winter months.

Hedgehogs roughly tend to hibernate between late December to early March time, if you see a prickly ball out between these times, there may be something wrong.

So, how can we help the hedgehogs out that we see in your gardens?

Herbie has checked into the hog hotel... (53112777)
Herbie has checked into the hog hotel... (53112777)

Keen amateur photographer and regular Lynn News contributor Julie Smart, from Grimston, has set up an entire hedgehog hotel to keep her two regular visitors, Herbie and Horrice warm. She's even managed to capture them on a night vision camera!

Of course, you don't have to build an entire hog hotel to keep your visitors happy.

Norfolk developer and RSPB are asking people in Norfolk to help struggling wildlife , producing a pack to help educate those on simple ways to alter their gardens.

A hedgehog using a hedgehog tunnel (53137940)
A hedgehog using a hedgehog tunnel (53137940)

Sarah Brompton, RSPB Actions for Nature Project Manager, said: “We want every homeowner to come together and share their wildlife gardening experience. There are so many ways we can all beusing our outdoor spaces to give nature a home, whether that’s by planting plants for pollinators or making a bug hotel. And the great news is that it makes these places such a joy for us as well – a visit from a hedgehog is bound to bring a smile to every face, and there’s something quite special about seeing a robin foraging in the snow. Together we can make our outdoor spaces a true haven for us, and for nature.”

Julie, who has taken on hedgehogs for the first time ever, has shared her tips in keeping them happy with things you may have laying around the house.

Julie said, "they are in a quiet corner in the garden with lots of straw/hay and leaves around the box to build a nest with, they have also used a coco hanging basket liner which i put out for them."

Horrice and Herbie having a late night snack in Julie's hog hotel (53111650)
Horrice and Herbie having a late night snack in Julie's hog hotel (53111650)

Hedgehogs like to build their own nests, so you won't have to get technical with building it yourself.

Julie said, "I looked at the footage on my wildlife camera and saw them picking at the pile of straw i left out and running away with it!"

When it comes to feeding hedgehogs, keep it simple, and avoid dairy, they're actually lactose intolerant. So stay away from putting out a saucer of milk.

Mother hedgehog and her babies (53112203)
Mother hedgehog and her babies (53112203)

Mrs Smart has given her hedgehogs a varied diet to bulk them up for hibernation, she said "they have a shallow bowl of fresh water every day and hedgehog dry food, , they also like cat/dog food and apples, they have gained a lot of weight and are rather fat now!"

Like many nature enthusiasts would be, Julie was over the moon to see the hedgehogs making the most out of the make-shift home she made.

Julie said, "When I first saw the hedgehogs in my garden, I wasn't sure what to do, but thankfully I saw something in the Lynn News that helped me look after them."



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