What is an Autumn Juvenile?
Many female hedgehogs have late litters in September and October and the young from these litters are known as autumn juveniles. These hedgehogs are old enough to be away from their mothers, but are too small to hibernate or survive on their own. Young hedgehogs generally need to weigh at least 600gms in order to hibernate successfully and be in a good enough condition to survive after hibernation.
Why Do They Need Help
Some underweight hedgehogs (under 600 grams) in October will need to be rescued and overwintered. These hedgehogs are kept warm through the winter and released (usually where they were found) when the weather warms up in the spring and there natural food supply is plentiful.
Most autumn juveniles weigh much less than the minimum requirement of 600grams and so need specialist care.
Many autumn juveniles come into care with lungworm which causes severe respiratory problems & eventually death. This condition is easily treated provided they are found soon enough.
A juvenile hedgehog needs specialist care if:
- It is seen out foraging during the day
- It is very underweight
- It is sick or injured
- It has parasite infestations (ticks, fleas, flystrike)
(Go to the emergency care section for advice and guidance)
Autumn juveniles remain in care for the duration of the winter months
Once a hedgehog has successfully been overwintered in care and has gained enough weight it can be released in the spring.
“Between the middle of November and March/April small hedgehogs weighing less than 600 grams may need specialist care”