Freezing weather endangers British wildlife

Hedgehog MAIN_0

Britain’s long cold spell is threatening ever greater numbers of animals, birds and insects. The length of the current cold spell is unprecedented, with temperatures are unlikely to return to their average level until the end of April. By that time, a great deal of harm could have been done to the nation’s wildlife.

A report in The Observer warns that the freezing weather is particularly affecting creatures that are already struggling to survive the loss of their habitats and changes in climate, including:

  • Hedgehogs that are still hibernating. “The weather is not yet warm enough to wake them,” said Fay Vass, Chief Executive of the Hedgehog Preservation Society. “Usually they would be up and about by now. The problem is that the longer a hedgehog remained asleep, the weaker it gets and the less energy it has to restore itself to wakefulness. In general, the longer the cold weather lasts, the greater the number of animals that will not wake up at all. Hedgehogs that have already woken up are having a hard time finding any food.
  • Seabirds along the east coast are also badly affected, struggling to catch fish in the current stormy conditions. Puffins, guillemots, razorbills, cormorants and gulls are all affected.
  • Owls and small birds, such as goldcrests, long-tailed tits and wrens, which mainly feed on small insects, are finding the current cold weather very tricky.
  • Frogs have spawned only for their ponds to have frozen over, while many plants and insects are emerging late, which has a knock-on effect on species that feed on them.
  • Butterflies wake-up in April and, if it is still freezing, that could have very serious consequences for their ability to get food.

The RSPB says everyone can help by making sure their bird feeders are regularly topped up, and The Hedgehog Preservation Society recommends that nature lovers leave plentiful water supplies and food, either meaty cat or dog meals or specialist hedgehog food.

10 responses to “Freezing weather endangers British wildlife

  1. Good story on how climate change is not just about global warming. Would you mind if I reblog this post on Natural History Wanderings.

  2. Thanks, go ahead Sandy, that would be great.

  3. Yes it’s very worrying what the effect will be with migrant bird species due to arrive soon. If they are delayed it may have knock on effects for breeding success

  4. Reblogged this on Natural History Wanderings and commented:
    Green Living London posted this story on the negative effects recent cold weather in Great Britain has had on their local wildlife. Climate change isn’t just about warming temperatures.

  5. Thanks for the information and warning about conditions and effects of climate change. Very worrying. All of nature is off-kilter.

  6. Reblogged this on Pete's Favourite Things and commented:
    Whilst musing on how the weather may affect wildlife. Here is an article to make us all think

  7. Many Thanks for this post. This particular unfolding saga could really do with more media coverage right now. Anyway, we care and we should continue spreading the word.

    I hope you don’t mind the shameless plug to my blog, which broadly covers the very same topics, on a season by season basis.

    • Yes I agree Tony, there should be a lot more coverage in the media as I do believe a lot of people care about our wildlife but rarely get the opportunity to read about these kind of topics. Good luck with your blog, I look forward to reading more of your post in future. Tim

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