Wildlife and hibernation

Hedgehogs, ladybirds, frogs and toads

By Bridgette Saunders - www.gardenhousebrighton.co.uk

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Wildlife and hibernation' page

Wildlife

If you see a hedgehog foraging on your allotment at this time of year, the chances are that it has been fooled by the weather.  Many creatures, such as frogs, toads, and newts, bumblebees and ladybirds have had their hibernation period delayed due to the warm weather.   This weather means there has been a lot of food still available such as slugs and snails, insects and berries, which will help them to store up more food reserves for their hibernation.

Ladybirds spend winter in leaf litter or dense vegetation.  If you bring one into the house on some foliage put it back outside again under some dry leaf litter.

If you have a pond at your allotment and want to clear it out now – watch out for the frogs which hibernate at the bottom of the pond in mud, or more usually, along with toads and newts, hide themselves away under piles of damp leaves and rotting logs.  If you do remove some pond plants make sure you leave them on the side so that any insects or frogs etc can make their way back into the pond.

The RHS advises that if we don’t have a cold spell it will have an impact which is hard to assess, hibernators are physiologically adapted to having a resting period, and their condition could be poorer if they don’t have a winter sleep.  If they have a hibernation period of up to four weeks then they should be fine.

This page was added by Melanie Matthews on 15/01/2012.