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Sleep tight, little hedgehog. Sleep tight, little hedgehog
As the cooler weather sets in, hedgehogs are preparing to hibernate. Most begin in October or early November and remain in that state until springtime. During hibernation, an animal's heart rate and breathing slow and its body temperature drops. However, of all native UK mammals, only the hedgehog, dormouse and various bat species hibernate. Others – like badgers – will become less active as they survive on reserves of body fat, so although you see less of them, they are not actually hibernating.
Hedgehogs are much-loved animals here in the UK, where The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle is a childhood staple. A friend to gardeners, they eat slugs, snails and insects but their numbers are thought to have declined drastically since the 1950s, from 30 million then to about one million today. To make your garden more hedgehog-friendly, avoid using slug pellets, check for hedgehogs before mowing or using strimmers, remove netting from gardens and check bonfires before lighting them.