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Thread: The tiny hedgehog family born a month early thanks to Britain's unpredictable weather

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    Elite Member Honey's Avatar
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    Default The tiny hedgehog family born a month early thanks to Britain's unpredictable weather

    These baby hedgehogs might be nestling comfortably in the hand of a rescuer but they are actually victims of Britain's unpredictable weather.


    Bluebell, Primrose, Daisy and Buttercup - named after spring flowers - were born a month earlier than normal on April 26, making them one of the earliest litters ever seen in the UK.

    Experts believe they are the result of mild conditions which brought their mother, April, out of hibernation early.

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    Tiny: The hedgehogs weighed just 20 grams at birth



    No one realised she was pregnant when a member of public handed them into a rescue centre after finding them under a garden shed they were dismantling.

    April surprised staff at the Rare Breeds Farm in Totnes, Devon by producing her litter the following day. The hedgehogs weighed 20 grams at birth but are now piling on weight after suckling from their mother.

    Manager Barrie Tolley said: "You could fit them all into the palm of your hand when they were born and their spines were white and soft. Now they've become prickly.

    "In a few days we will move them onto cat food. It's very nutritious and full of everything they need."

    The entire family will be released back into the wild when the babies weigh a healthy 500 grams.

    Elizabeth Dyas, founder of Prickly Ball Farm in Devon, which looks after hedgehogs, said: "Normally we start to get small numbers being born at the end of May and beginning of June.

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    Early arrivals: Bluebell, Primrose, Daisy and Buttercup - named after spring flowers - were born a month earlier than normal on April 26




    "When we first started taking them in about 20 years ago there were harsher winters and they hibernated for much longer periods than they do now."

    Fay Vass, of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, added: "Traditionally, November to March was hibernation time. Now you often see them out late in December.

    "Last year the earliest litter I saw was on March 17, which was extraordinarily early. The gestation period is about four-and-a-half weeks, so the mother must have got pregnant in February."

    The average temperature in Devon was 6.5 C in March, when April would have mated - slightly higher than normal.

    The county has been warmer than parts of Greece and Italy recently and the temperature hit 21 C on Tuesday and yesterday.

    A Met Office spokesman said: "The temperatures at the moment are around three or four degrees above the 15 C average for this time of year."

    Hedgehogs are the only British animals to hibernate, alongside bats and dormice.

    In December it emerged hundreds of baby hedgehogs were being taken in by rescue centres because they had been born late during an exceptionally warm autumn and were too small or too weak to hibernate.
    Surveys have revealed their numbers have been halved to 750,000 in recent years because of unpredictable weather, road deaths and intensive farming practices.

    Pictured: The tiny hedgehog family born a month early thanks to Britain's unpredictable weather | the Daily Mail

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    Elite Member KrisNine's Avatar
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    Squeal!!! What a cutie!

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    In December it emerged hundreds of baby hedgehogs were being taken in by rescue centres because they had been born late during an exceptionally warm autumn and were too small or too weak to hibernate.
    Surveys have revealed their numbers have been halved to 750,000 in recent years because of unpredictable weather, road deaths and intensive farming practices.
    Global warming strikes again! Hope these critters will make it alright.

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