Wildlife First Aid and Hibernation
Our hedgehog is recovering well, with some TLC from our Ranger Emma, and is now well enough to be transferred to an expert wildlife carer for winter respite, As it is too underweight to be able to successfully hibernate, our vet and experts at Hessilhead wildlife recue centre, have advised us it would not survive if released now, and is best off kept in care to gain weight over the winter for a spring release back to the woods around Loch of the Lowes. It is of course vital wild animals are released as close to where they were originally found as possible so we will look forward to another hedgehog around Lowes next year!
If you find any injured wild animal, please keep in mind the three key first aid principles:
* be sure the animal is really in distress- know what its normal behaviour is and if in doubt, just observe and get expert advice
* Any injured or ill wild animal needs quiet, warmth and darkness to minimise stress and treat shock- do not try to force feed or examine it straight away
* Always seek expert help, from your vet or a rescue centre or charity helplines, as all wild animals have special and specific requirements and much harm can be done by good natured but inaccurate treatments/ food etc
Please note, we do not normally have facilities at Loch of the Lowesto take in injured wildlife, so if you find a casualty, please contact your nearest vet or in Scotland, the SSPCA helpline on 03000 999 999.
Many of our local wild animals are preparing for winter of course- you only have to look at the frantic activity of the red Squirrels around the Visitors centre at Loch of the Lowes, who are collecting and storing huge amounts of nuts to see themselves through the worst of the weather to come. Though many of our animals slow down in winter, very few actually hibernate, which is a specialised adaption of sleep where metabolic rates are altered to preserve energy. In the UK only hedgehogs, bats and dormice really hibernate- the rest of our mammal wildlife, such as badgers, merely slow down and reduce their activity rates and sleep more- much like some of us!