23 July 2010
Supporter Services Team Manager
My life-long interest in birds and wildlife stems from my fortunate childhood upbringing in rural Oxfordshire where I can remember owning first pair of binoculars from a very early age. I started working for the RSPB in August 2005 for the Membership Services department and after a 5 months secondment in 2007, I started working full-time for the Wildlife Enquiries team in January 2008. After studying Environmental Studies and Ornithology via distance learning courses, I recently completed a diploma in Zoology at Oxford College.
Sent in by John Todd, North Yorkshire
Hedgehogs are nocturnal; they sleep during the day and forage for food at night. If you find a hedgehog out-and-about during the day and well before dusk, something may well be wrong and you should seek the advice of a wildlife hospital.
With their small eyes, hedgehogs have relatively poor eyesight and rely on their acute sense of smell to find food. They can travel 1 to 2 km each night in search of food and can move at speeds of 3 metres per minute.
They require 70 g of food per night and can eat a whole variety of foodstuffs, which can include earthworms, beetles, spiders and slugs, the latter making them a firm favourite with many gardeners.
Often the best sign of the presence of a hedgehog in gardens are their black tarry droppings. Outside of the breeding season, hedgehogs are quite solitary and you may be alerted to their presence at night by snuffles and snorts as they search for food.
Hedgehogs can live up to seven years old, but most live for no more than three years. An adult hedgehog is covered in approximately 6,000 spines!
If you would like to encourage hedgehogs into your garden, why not find out more in our advice pages.
Do you have have a wildlife-related question you've always wanted to ask? You can use our online form to ask a question by clicking on the link below.
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