Dutch hedgehogs are struggling this winter: here’s why

Hedgehogs are getting ready to hibernate for the upcoming winter but with an overabundance of hoglets (baby hedgehogs!), animal shelters all over the Netherlands are the busiest they’ve been all year, according to RTL Nieuws.

These precious little ones can be found foraging in November around forests and parks, and other heavily vegetated areas β€” you may even find one in your garden! 

Environmental concerns for hedgehogs

Winters are becoming milder and starting later and hedgehogs in the Netherlands are beginning to nest later too. As a result, hoglets don’t have enough fat to hibernate through the winter months, facing starvation and sickness. 

Hedgehog shelter Egelopvang Den Haag and many other sanctuaries are becoming overcrowded with the wild hoglets found in the worst possible condition. With the help of many vets and volunteers, these shelters do their best to nurse hoglets and hedgehogs throughout the winter but there are plenty of things you can do, starting in your own garden:

  • ❌ Don’t leave traps or pesticides: Hedgehogs are garden-friendly and regular, old friendly animals. They feed on plenty of unwanted insects and pests, and protect biodiversity.Β 
  • πŸƒ Keep your gardens green: Autumn leaves, dry grass, branches, moss, you name it. Hedgehogs use these to forage and build shelter safely, so don’t throw anything away!
  • πŸ’§ Leaving out food: Dry cat food and water provide hedgehogs with enough nutrients to survive. Avoid foods like peanut butter and milk, even if the Dutch love them.Β 
  • πŸš‘ Call your local pet shelter: Treating hedgehogs yourself without the supervision of a licensed vet or animal specialist is a no-no. If you see a struggling hedgehog, carefully pick them up with a towel, call your local dierenambulance (animal ambulance), and await instructions.Β 

Consider volunteering at a shelter, looking into taking care of hedgehogs at home, and making local outdoor spaces like gardens and parks just a little more cozy for these animals. 

Have you seen hedgehogs in the wild? Tell us your experiences in the comments below!

Featured Image: Egor Kamelev/Pexels

Katrien Nivera πŸ‡΅πŸ‡­
Third culture kid Katrien is a Philippine native living in the Netherlands to finish her master's degree in political communication. You can usually find her trying to organize everything on Notion and the sticky notes app, otherwise, she’s nose-deep in a good book or obsessing over film soundtracks and video games.

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