Scottish SPCA released over 60 hedgehogs in December
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Thanks to milder weather the Scottish SPCA released over 60 hedgehogs this month before the latest cold snap.
Scotland's animal welfare charity cared for the hogs at its National Wildlife Rescue Centre where they received the rehabilitation they needed before being released back to their natural habitat.
Some animals are released in areas where they are support fed to ensure food is available for a short period to help with the transition back to the wild.
The charity has cared for over 1,500 hedgehogs in 2020 and currently has 66 in its wildlife hospital.
Wildlife manager Steven Gray said: “With the milder weather it would appear some animals are remaining active for longer periods.
“Members of the public have been getting in touch to ask if it’s normal to see hedgehogs out at this time of year.
"If they are in good body condition and look to be a healthy weight we would suggest monitoring them, if possible, before becoming too alarmed.
"We would recommend that people contact us if they spot a hedgehog out in daylight for a prolonged period or appears distressed or injured in any way.
“Since the latest cold snap and snow for many across the country, we would expect animals now to be hibernating.
“A decade ago it would have been very unlikely we would have been able to release over 60 hedgehogs in December.
“The recent milder winters have meant that we are seeing changes in behaviours in wildlife.
“Hedgehogs generally come in to our care underweight.
"They need to be a certain weight to be able to hibernate so part of our job is to make sure they reach a healthy mass before being released.
“Our purpose is always to rehabilitate and release these animals back in to their natural habitat once they are ready.
“We have been able to feed our hungry hogs due to kind donations from members of the public and we would like to say how grateful we are to everyone who gifted items.”
The Scottish SPCA National Wildlife Rescue Centre has cared for over 7,000 wild animals in 2020.