Roehampton Garden Society

Watch out for: Hibernating Wildlife

November 2021

It’s the season – our wildlife is busy for preparing for the winter. Bonfires and avid autumn gardening with power tools can pose major threats to garden wildlife.
It’s not just hedgehogs – bats and amphibians: frogs, toads, newts.. need protection from the winter weather.

If you come across a ball of leaves you’ve possibly found a hedgehog’s winter nest, so put the nest and some of the material back to safety and think about how many slugs your prickly friend will eat in the spring!

Frogs, toads and newts go into a state of torpor when it’s cold, dropping their body temperature, breathing and heart rate. They can withstand winter better than others, but will creep under rocks or logs or lay buried at the bottom of ponds when the temperature really drops.
You may not be aware of the frogs and toads in the undergrowth who are looking for a safe place in which to await the spring. Undisturbed areas of long grass, damp vegetation and logs are perfect shelters so be gentle with your digging.

If you pull up a stone and find a frog or a newt, please be aware that the heat of your hand can bring them out of torpor. Moving them is tricky. Replacing the stone as gently as possible may be your best option. Take a look at this interesting article on hibernating creatures from the Woodland Trust.

With thanks to Bill Young

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