Did you know that there are three types of british mammal that hibernate over the winter?
Hibernation is a method of survival over the winter period, when food is little and the weather is freezing. The animal will enter a deep “sleep” like state, their core temperature will drop as well as their rate of breathing. This trance like state is known as torpor and helps to save energy.
When we think of an animal that hibernates, the hedgehog is certainly one that springs to mind! Over the summer these little hogs have been putting on the pounds to help them get ready for their period of hibernation. This is all dependant on the weather of course, some hedghogs start to “sleep” around October if the weahter is cold enough, most will start in the wet and cold periods of November. They will sleep all the way till around March- April time when the weather starts to become fairer.
You can help the hedgehogs hibernate by:
Hedgehogs mainly feed on a diet of slugs, beetles, caterpillars and worms. But did you know that leaving a shallow plate of:
- chicken/ turkey flavoured cat food,
- or unsalted crushed peanuts,
- or sunflower seeds
- or dried mealworms
- or cat biscuits
- as well as a bowl of clean water
Outside encourages hedgehogs? They will benefit greatly from the buffet as they eat around October time and gain weight for hibernation. Please do not feed bread or milk, this can seriously harm the hogs as they are lactose intolerant.
Want to stop cats, foxes and rats from stealing the food? Click here
Create A Hedgehog Highway
One of the causes of concerns for our prickly friends is the loss of hedgerows and the creation of fences. Fenced gardens prevent hedgehogs from travelling to find food, nests as well as mates. You can help the hedgehogs by creating a small hole in your fence, and whilst you at it why not encourage your neighbours to do the same? Who wouldn’t want a cute hedgehog in the garden- plus they will take care of your slug problems too!
Build A Hog A Home
Hedgehogs will be looking for a perfect nest to nestle down in for the winter. Why not help them out and build one for them? Not only is this a fun, creative project that you can do with your family, friends or at school. But is also one that will really benefit our prickly friends.
Dormice are seriously struggling in numbers, in fact they are extinct in the northen areas of the UK. Loss of hedgerow, woodland and fragmentation of gardens have made a massive impact on this little species. The dormouse really needs your help more then ever if it is going to survive as a species in the future.
You Can Help The Dormouse By:
Making A Dormouse A Home
By making a house for a dormouse you’ll be providing them with a safe area to hibernate, from around October to around May time.
Joining The National Monitoring Scheme
By joining the scheme you will be monitoring the numbers of wild dormice in your area. This information is vital to help see if the mice are doing well in the area or not so well. This inofmation can then be used to help increase the mice’s survival such as adding more nest boxes, proving more potiental mates or food opportunies. If this sounds like something you would like to join then please click here for more information.
There are 17 species of bat here in the UK. These are the:
- Alcathoe Bat
- Bechstein’s Bat
- Brandt’s Bat
- Brown Long Eared Bat
- Common Pipistrelle
- Greater Horseshoe Bat
- Grey Long Eared Bat
- Whiskered Bat
- Natterer’s Bat
- Leislers Bat
- Nathusius’ Pipistrelle
- Soprano Pipistrelle
- Lesser Horseshoe Bat
- Daubenton’s Bat
Bats are good pest busters – most are known as insectivores, meaning they will fly around at night eating only bugs. Even fact they are so good at it they can be used instead of pesticides! In the cotton farming industry bats are encourged to do just so. Sadly bat populations are declining due to the loss of their nests in woodland or even in urban areas, with abandoned buildings becoming demolished. The use of pesticides in agriculture is also linked, as it removes their main source of food. Bats typically will start to hibernate around November to April.
How You Can Help The Bats
Make A Bat Box
Provide a bat a home this winter by creating bat boxes. This provides them with a safe area to roost and they may even use it to raise their young! For more informaton about this fun project please click here
Go Batty In The Garden
By planting certian types of plants you can encourage insects that bats enjoy ( such as moths) to come to the garden & breed. This in turn encourages the bats to come to your garden to feast!
Plants such as : Jasmine, Honeysuckle, Nicotiana alata, Hemp-agrimony and sweet rocket.
Why not let the garden go a a little wild and give your lawn mower a break? This too encourages insects to florish or create a bug hotel. Children ( and adults) love making bug hotels out of logs, pine cones and straw. For more information on how to build a bug hotel please click here.
Create a watering hole for the bats. Not only is it fun to watch them swoop down from the sky to take a drink but it also encourages bugs as well. For more info on how to build one, please click here