Help for hedgehogs this winter as Solihull Council joins forces with rescue centre

Solihull Council has teamed up with Solihogs Hedgehog Rescue Centre Credit: PA Images

A West Midlands council is working with a hedgehog rescue centre to raise awareness about how to protect the animals during winter and beyond.

Solihull Council has teamed up with Solihogs Hedgehog Rescue Centre to educate and inform people on the best ways to look after the spiny mammals as temperatures drop.

Earlier this week, councillor Andy Mackiewicz, from the authority, helped release two healthy hedgehogs – Horace and Acorn – back into one of Solihull’s nature reserves.

The cabinet portfolio holder for Climate Change and Planning said: “We are delighted to be working with Solihogs Hedgehog Rescue to help Solihull residents be more aware of these beloved garden visitors.

Alison White from Solihogs Hedgehog Rescue holding Horace and Cllr Andy Mackiewicz holding Acorn

"During the winter there are many ways to help hedgehogs have a safe hibernation, including putting food and water out and providing safe homes for them to nest in like log piles or compost heaps.

“Alongside this partnership, we’re also introducing ‘Horace the Hedgehog’ to our park signs.

"We’re hoping Horace will help us to encourage people to care for hedgehogs and communicate a range of other safety and sustainability messages too.”

The centre was created by Alison White in early 2020 and she continues to run the rescue centre from a hand-built hedgehog hospital in her back garden.

Alison and her group of volunteers rescue, rehabilitate and release hedgehogs in and around the Solihull area.

She said: “We welcome the support of Solihull Council in highlighting our work and raising awareness of how to help hedgehogs.

"Solihogs Hedgehog Rescue relies on the dedication of our hard-working volunteers and is completely funded by generous donations from the public.

"By taking small steps to make your garden hedgehog friendly and contacting us if you find an unwell or injured hedgehog, we can all work together to protect hedgehogs from decline.”

How can we help hedgehogs?

Hedgehogs can really benefit from extra food as a supplement to their natural diet, especially as the insect population continues to be reduced by agricultural intensification and pesticide use.

Meaty cat or dog food and hedgehog food are suitable. You can also put out water for hedgehogs to drink.

Hedgehogs usually hibernate between November through to mid-March, but they can sometimes be seen out and about during this period changing nesting sites.

It is unusual to see a hedgehog staggering around during winter or in daylight.

If you see a hedgehog that looks distressed, unwell or out about during the day contact Solihogs Hedgehog Rescue using the contact information available on their website.

Outside of Solihull, you can contact The British Hedgehog Preservation Society to find the nearest rescue to you.

If a hedgehog is injured and urgent intervention is clearly required, take the hedgehog to your nearest vet as soon as possible.