During the winter, our ‘fish house’ has been home to Henry the very cute hedgehog. Henry was first found to the surprise and shock of one of our Keepers a few months ago, wrapped in a pair of old waterproof trousers. Since then he vanished and reappeared this week, so the Keepers have made him a more permanent lodging during hibernation in the form of his very own cosy hedgehog house. We think that Henry had been surviving on a diet of flamingo pellets, as they are stored where he was found, hopefully he will survive the winter.
Hedgehogs are the only British mammal with spines. When threatened they will roll into a tight ball, with the spines providing sharp protection from predators. Young hedgehogs are born with soft spines under the skin to protect mum, with a second set of spines emerging within days. Hedgehogs aren't fussy when it comes to food: worms, slugs, frogs and even bird eggs can be taken during a two kilometre nightly forage, a resistance to adder venom can also put this snake on the menu.
Did you know?
The name for a baby hedgehog is a hoglet.
Why do Hedgehogs go into Hibernation?Hedgehogs hibernate for one simple reason: to survive the winter. Because hedgehogs feed on insects, food becomes scarce in the cold of winter, so they go to sleep. During hibernation, the metabolism rate of hedgehogs falls dramatically, so hedgehogs burn much less fat. Doing this, they are able to survive the winter with no (or little) food.
We will keep you updated on Henry’s progress and fingers crossed everyone that he makes it through his hibernation!