Had to dig the winter jacket out the cupboard the other night, boy was it chilly! A crisp autumn evening with clear skies and a smattering of stars heralded the need for gloves, a hat and a hot drink when I returned from my walk.

It got me thinking of how wildlife copes with such changes of temperature and the prolonged cold over winter. Last year’s winter felt incredibly long and I thought about how bats, hedgehogs and badgers get through such winters and how it must affect them the following year.

You see, for many animals, autumn is a time to prepare for the winter ahead. October is a month of last-minute feeding frenzies and getting homes ready for the cold season.
Our bats will be feeling the chilly evenings as they search for hibernation roosts to cosy into over the winter months. Fortunately with the great summer we have had their tummies should be full of midges (bless them) and other insects.

Hedgehogs hibernate after feeding up with juicy worms, slugs and other insects and these prickly little characters need lots of food to get through the winter months. Hedgehogs need to be over 600g and desperately need help if they are underweight or if seen out during the day as this is not normal behaviour for them.

Badgers don’t hibernate as such, but they do go into a state of torpor, reducing their heart rate and sleeping for longer periods of time, relying on fat reserves to see them through the winter. During milder winters, badgers will venture outside to feed so don’t be surprised to find fresh tracks in muddy areas.

Let us know what you find.

Tracy Lambert