Climate change is now a long time under the eyes of all!
For us humans the disruption can be dramatic: Floods, Typhoons, destruction of crops, or "bearable": sudden temperature changes, increased allergies, flu epidemics.
But if we stop to observe the behavior of wild animals closest to us, we must draw the conclusion that the situation is even worse.
It is not necessary to see a documentary about penguins or polar bears on the Arctic and the problems that global warming is causing them.
Just gets out of the house and walk or bike through our fields and our forests, to realize that the problems are right in front of our eyes, as if to say: "in our backyard".
It is not encouraging to meet in late winter a Hedgehog, who woke up from hibernation prematurely due to a sudden and unusual increase in temperature.
He wanders in broad daylight, desperately searching for food.
We know and he probably knows that it is a "Sentenced to death".
Equally bad is discover a young hedgehog, left to itself, and destined to a horrible end, only and only for the fact that his mother gave birth too late and he has no chance of surviving the winter.
If we humans can not do anything to curb climate change at least we should try as much as we can, to help these unwitting victims.
Physiological data and Habits of the Hedgehog.Body temperature: 35 °
Respiratory Rate: 20 '
Heart Rate: 180 '
Sexual maturity: 8-10 months of age
Estrous period: April to August
Duration of Gestation: 35 days
Duration of Lactation: 40 days
Number of parts per year: 1-2
Litter: 2-6 small
Longevity: 5 years
The hedgehog is the oldest mammal insectivore, it feeds on snails, beetles, larvae, and it is a close ally of our orchard and garden.
Unfortunately he has abandoned the campaign, which represents its Habitat, because due to the monoculture has failed the variety of insects in order to properly nourish and approach the urban areas, but I assure you that in our gardens his exestence is not easy!
The hedgehog sleeps 18 hours a day and is active for 6 hours at night. Just when we rest, we start any job outdoor burn piles of leaves (without first ensure that there is a hedgehog below), use a wire brush cutters and blade (killer par excellence), we adopt herbicides that poison insects , of which he is nourished, defeating his immune system and destroying its food base.
The hedgehog is always faced with deadly traps: wells, manholes, swimming pools (where it would be necessary to introduce grids ladders or lifts to save them); fences positioned flush with the ground trap the curls, so it should be raised about 15 cm from the ground.
The HEDGEHOG Hibernation.The factors that cause the hedgehog to enter the stage of latent life are multiple : the temperature of the place where he lives , length of photoperiod and "awareness" of its descending phase , availability of food, the amount of fat reserves accumulated in the body and most likely also one or more additional factors unknown to us , written in the DNA of the animal, a sort of computerized control that implements the various stresses , processes and accordingly decides whether or not to initiate the phase of hibernation.
Each factor , taken individually , is not enough to cause a change in the animal as radical as the passing from the stage of active life to that of latent life .
In fact, a hedgehog that with the advance of the winter season , characterized by days with temperatures below 10 ° C, short photoperiod in further decrease and severe food shortages , has not yet managed to accumulate sufficient fat reserves , it will enter the stage of lethargy proper.
Will limit itself to have a reduction , will spend more time than usual balled in the den , but every night , and sometimes during the day, we will devote to look for something to eat.
This is because its "sixth sense" tells him that if it fell into hibernation in that precarious condition scarce accumulated fat reserves would run out ahead of time and your metabolism would not be able to keep the body in the minimum conditions needed to make it live up in the spring.
Unfortunately, even continuing to look for food to put on fat his fate will almost inevitably marked , as the little food that will not allow him even to keep the weight off in the autumn ; slimming and physical deterioration would be inevitable and almost certainly die already during the winter .
Another observation is related to the behavior of the hedgehog in the spring, after waking up : even during periods of prolonged cold , the so-called " winter return " the hedgehog does not fall into hibernation , perhaps because during the winter has been the natural weight loss , and knows that he must get busy at all costs to gain weight again , or perhaps because he realizes that the days are getting longer and soon the season will be more favorable ... or maybe even inside because he already is unleashed a hormonal storm that tells you that you are approaching the time of reproduction.
What to do when : You meet a hedgehog in trouble!
The European hedgehog is a wild animal, and protected by various laws , so you can not hold it nor turn it into a domestic pet!
It 's very important, however, in cases of necessity , will be affected entrust the care of a Wild Animals Rescue Centre.
With a pair of gloves gently gathers the animal , you put it in a box next to a hot water bottle , to guarantee him a normothermia .
Leave it quiet in the dark , without administering any type of food or medicine , unless you have contacted a veterinarian or a specialized center.
WHEN HELP THEM?
They go rescue all the curls you in September / October have not reached the minimum weight enough to overcome the lethargy : g 500/600 .
This is a very important because, if you lack the adequate reserves of subcutaneous fat to burn during the winter, the hedgehog dies in sleep or continues to wander desperate for food that can not be found and will die of starvation .
Should be helped every hedgehog :
• affected by ticks ( the main cause of death from severe anemia ) and fleas
• sick ( it is suspected that the hedgehog is in this state when he lies down on his side, staggers , drag the hind legs , struggling to ambulate ..)
• orphan who wanders in search of the mother
• wandering during the day ( the hedgehog is nocturnal , sleeping during the day for 18 hours in the normal situation )
• animals that are found in areas of imminent danger (wells, wells , manholes, busy roads , swimming pools, metal nets , nets for vegetable gardens, mousetraps , work sites , ...)
If the rescue is carried out in the period from late April to the end of September must pay particular attention , because it could be a mother who is breast-feeding.
Check that nearby there is a litter hidden in the bushes waiting for mom curly .
In the case, collect a pair of gloves with the small place them in a box with a hot water bottle and take them as soon as possible in a care center curls.
CAUTION: Do not put the puppies in the same box of their mother, who , frightened , you may not recognize them and kill them.
Even when the hedgehog is in a situation of imminent danger, mentioned above , moving away from the danger zone shall be limited to the minimum necessary to avoid the risk of alienating a mother from their litter too : the animal will not go neither withdrawn nor delivered to rescue centers !
The hedgehogs relief should never be fed , as often there may be cracks in the mouth or jaw trauma and surgery "do it yourself " , by giving food, could exacerbate an already precarious situation ,
The puppy is fed every 3 hours, with a special milk : ESBILAC ® ( Chifa ) in emergency you can use an infusion with fennel or goat's milk, waiting to have ESBILAC .
The milk is given lukewarm, with a siringhina tuberculin (1 ml ) , without the needle.
After each feeding , is carried out with a massage in the anal area to stimulate evacuation for this purpose , you can use almond oil or olive oil, to avoid irritation.
How and how much reconstituted milk administered to small hedgehog
|Hedgehog Weight||ml in 24 h||ml x meal||N° of meals|
NEVER EVER GIVE TO HEDGEHOGS :
• Cow's milk, baby milk , milk for kittens
• Dairy products
• Almonds (for the presence of hydrogen cyanide , toxic for hedgehogs )
• Nuts (many hedgehogs have come to the center in emergency conditions for hazelnuts wedged into the trachea )
If you want to help a hedgehog during the summer is important to use a pesticide for fleas and ticks ( eg advantage in vials for kittens, at a dose of half a vial every 500 g ) : avoid anemia by ticks for a hedgehog will get the chance to live longer and better!
In addition :
• Always leave a little corner in the garden full of twigs and leaves , which are used to build the nest, where you can relax safe during the day or for mothers to give birth hedgehog , gardens and orchards thoroughly clean and tidy , they are not very functional for hedgehogs .
• Never use in gardens and orchards, snail killers or herbicides , which weaken their immune system , or die immediately , in agony , feeding on snails intoxicated . There are products , harmless to the hedgehog , German import ; insist with your provider , because it can obtain these preparations !
• In summer, every night , always put fresh water in a shallow bowl , out the door or in the garden ( the curls are dying of thirst, and are close to the houses in search of food , but especially of water : the countryside , for the type culture adopted today, are less suitable for the life of the Hedgehog , which becomes suburban ) .
• Place croquettes or "wet" cat in a small house manger, with an opening of 10x10 cm , (or a wicker basket turned , ...) to be sure that both the hedgehog and not to feed cats and / or dogs.
• Last, but of utmost importance and we do not tire of repeating : DO NOT simply never to do it yourself, but after the first contact with the animal , contact a veterinarian to SOS Ricci or other wildlife rescue centers provincial , inquiring from Brigade provincial and State Forestry Corps!
The Hedgehog census in the UK and the research of Pat Morris.It is one of the most detailed research carried out in Europe on the specific topic: "The Hedgehog."
I believe that the arguments and conclusions can be quietly applied to other countries, including Italy.
In the 70s , the leading expert of British hedgehogs , Pat Morris , a former researcher at Royal Holloway, University of London , now retired , had identified a direct link between hibernation and climate: a census conducted like trying to map the hedgehog populations across the country
" We took observations of hedgehogs that people had sent for mapping and then we looked at the dates on the records , the point in the year since people had 50% of their observations , and we were able to compare the data between the north and the south.
What we found was that the hedgehogs were observed about three weeks later in Scotland than it had been in the south ( of England) or , put another way , in the south were emerging from hibernation three weeks before ".
From about 30 million hedgehogs that you think they lived in Britain in the 50s , their population had dwindled to just 1.5 million in 1995 and after sucuramente continued to decline again. Urbanization and industrial agriculture are probably the primary causes of this massacre , but now climate change could give another terrible blow to these cute and useful pets .
Since the research of Morris, the surface of the planet has warmed and the UK is no exception , indeed had an average increase in temperature of at least 0.5 degrees Celsius.
A change that is visibly affecting plants, insects and birds, with some species that have begun to bloom or to raise their young earlier and earlier or who are occupying areas that were previously too cold for them. The new study will tell you if the curls are following their example.
Not necessarily climate warming may be bad news for hedgehogs British , Morris explained that " The high temperatures during hibernation may be a problem, as are the very cold periods . Ideally you should hibernate just below zero".
A very long period with low temperatures requires a high consumption of fat reserves urchins , but also to get used to a faster rise in temperatures of -10 to 8 degrees is a good stress, " Simply because the chemical reactions that are essential for metabolism, proceed faster at higher temperatures".