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  • Writer's pictureNikki Latham

Mini-heat spike ahead could bring boost to soon-to-be hibernating hedgehogs and dormice.

Get ready for a mini-heat spike that might just give a helping hand to our adorable hibernating friends, the hedgehogs and dormice. Believe it or not, this unexpected warm spell could actually benefit wildlife as they gear up for their long winter nap. And guess what? The berry season is about to receive a major boost thanks to the balmy weather on the horizon.

Hold on to your hats, folks, because temperatures are expected to soar to a whopping 25 degrees in southern England this weekend, way above the usual for this time of year. Surprising, right? But fear not, the Woodland Trust's Nature's Calendar team assures us that this unusual warmth might not be such a bad thing for our furry friends.

Photo Credit: Laura Campbell (Supplied By Woodland Trust)

October is a crucial period for creatures like hedgehogs, whose numbers are sadly declining. It's their time to scurry around, gobbling up as much food as possible before their long slumber begins.

Dr Kate Lewthwaite who heads up the Woodland Trust's Citizen’s Science Team said the warmth may boost the amount of food around for many creatures.

She said: "Whilst it is clear that our seasons are changing due to climate change, with earlier springs and later autumns, the pretty damp conditions we have been getting, plus this unusual warm spell to come, may not be a bad thing.
“It looks like being a rather short span of warmth so not long enough to confuse plants and animals.
“Rather more positively, it may give a little bit more time for those animals that are set to hibernate like hedgehogs to find their prey. Hedgehogs feast on worms, beetles and other insects, all of which will remain active for longer in the milder weather. Dormice can stock up on a bigger abundance of berries and nuts. It may also extend the active butterfly season for species like red admiral.
“Of course, if this sort of weather pattern was hitting us in December it would be much worse news with animals coming back out of hibernation prematurely.”

Leaf tinting, a typical indicator of autumn, has been observed in several tree species such as silver birch, rowan, oak, and beech. Additionally, there are promising signs of a plentiful conker harvest, potentially influenced by the warm weather experienced in early September.

Dr Lewthwaite added that it will take a little time to see a true reflection of early autumn since that needs more records to come in.

She added: “We recommend people to make the most of this warmer weather and get out and about to enjoy the early autumn signs in our woods. If you’re have a particular eye for spotting signs of nature’s changing seasons, we are always on the lookout for more volunteers.”

The Woodland Trust needs more recorders to track nature’s changes. For more information about Nature’s Calendar go to:

This news story has been produced by Chesil Radio's News Team, for more information please visit:

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