Without their parents, young hedgehogs will not survive the winter, Source: Sierra Nicole Narvaeth / Unsplash

Orphaned young hedgehogs are looking for foster parents in St. Pölten, Austria

Orphaned young hedgehogs are looking for foster parents in St. Pölten, Austria

The small animals looking for food before the winter often must cross roads - a perilous journey for many

The Animal Welfare Association in the small city of St. Pölten, Austria, is looking for foster parents to help take care of orphaned hedgehogs in the winter. As the autumn months roll in, many of the small creatures venture into ‘human’ territory, facing the perils of crossing roads and other human activities, leaving their young ones without proper care.

According to a statement on social media, the organisation has too many sick and orphaned young hedgehogs and cannot care for all of them during their winter hibernation. This is why they have decided to ask animal lovers in St. Pölten for help.

Wild animals in the big city

Autumn is the high season for hedgehogs, as they venture out to look for food and prepare for winter hibernation. Quite often, in the twilight, the animals even venture into human civilisation. They often cross busy roads – a journey that costs many hedgehogs their lives.

Consequently, young hedgehogs who have lost their parents would not survive the winter without additional help. In fact, professionals at the animal welfare organisation in St. Pölten say that the shelter is the best place where hedgehog orphans can spend the winter.

However, as the ORF reports, they are currently at their limits, according to Davor Stojanovic, a shelter veterinarian. He continued by pointing out that the shelter takes in every hedgehog they find or concerned animal lovers bring in, yet, at some point, they reached their limits.

There are currently 100 hedgehogs in the animal shelter, receiving medical care and being nursed back to health and officials say that more and more animals are coming in.

Not all hedgehogs need help

According to a statement by the organisation, not all hedgehogs need help and people need to be mindful of that as misguided attention can cause harm. With that in mind, they have put out a list of criteria to guide people in making the right choice when they encounter a hedgehog.

They are the following:

  1. Healthy adults do not need help;
  2. Hedgehogs weighing approximately 200 grams and are in their mother’s company;
  3. Healthy youngsters that weigh more than 200 grams.

Additionally, the organisation has also released some tips for people who have gardens and want to help the small animals prepare for the winter. Animal lovers can leave some food and water. Note that hedgehogs are not herbivores and eat meat and insects.

If people want to encourage hibernation in their own gardens, they can create a little shelter ‘cottage’, filled with dry leaves, hay or straw.



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