A local hedgehog survey has reminded people to keep reporting any hedgehog sightings this autumn.
Hogwatch - a joint project between Barnsley Biodiversity Trust and Penistone Friends of the Earth - is hoping to establish where hedgehogs are found in the area of Barnsley west of the M1 motorway, and use this information to develop a conservation strategy for the species.
Hedgehog numbers have been on a downward trend for many years, though the precise reasons for this are still not clear.
Pete Riley, of Hogwatch, said: “Hedgehogs are still active and should be putting on weight in preparation for hibernation. As the nights draw and temperatures fall in autumn, hedgehogs need to
develop fat reserves for their period in hibernation. Hibernating nests can be as simple as a pile of leaves. Householders can help by leaving parts of their garden untidy to provide suitable sites.
“Baby hedgehogs seen at this time of the year are unlikely to reach the weight needed for them to survive hibernation and emerge next spring. If possible they should be kept in captivity and local hedgehog rescue centres contacted.
“Hedgehogs can be active until November and they will emerge for hibernation in mild spells. We would like to hear about any sighting through the autumn and winter.
“The response to Hogwatch has been excellent in 2016 and we hope to publish the results in the New Year. Thanks to everyone who has reported sightings this year”.
Pick up a recording form from Penistone Library or visit www.ourhogwatch.org.uk to report a sighting, and for information on dealing with sick hedgehogs.