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Unless you have been away on holiday or snuggled up in your home for quite a while you will have noticed the drop in temperature in the last month.  This dip in temperature change triggers survival mechanisms for some of our wildlife in Cumbernauld such as hedgehogs, badgers, squirrels, pine martens, bats and other small rodents.  There are a few mechanisms but for now we talk about two, torpor and hibernation which are vital for these animals to survive the winter.

Torpor is a relatively short term reduction of the animal’s temperature and metabolic rate, usually days to weeks but it can also be a short time within a 24 hour period.  Being able to go into a state of torpor enables an animal to conserve energy especially at times when food is scarce, during the winter when the ground freezes it is very difficult for badgers to get their favourite food of juicy worms! Depending on the severity of the winter badgers and squirrels are able to go in and out of torpor to allow them to stock up on food supplies.

Hibernation is a collection of torpor states, which makes the dormant period last much longer from weeks to months. This is the usual method for our smaller rodents and hedgehogs; you may even have built a hibernaculum over the summer for our little spikey friends! It is very important not to disturb these animals during the winter months, however if you do come across any very small hedgehogs (less than 600g) wandering in the cold weather it is vital to their survival to get them help via the SSPCA or a local wildlife hospital.   Follow us on Facebook – Cumbernauld Living Landscapex


Ian Mackenzie