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Hedgehog hibernation

Hedgehogs are one of the few mammals that are true hibernators. During hibernation hedgehogs are not really asleep, instead they drop their body temperature to match their surroundings and enter a state of torpor. This allows them to save a lot of energy but slows down all other bodily functions making normal activity impossible.

Preparing the hibernation nest. Video by Terry Lampitt

When do hedgehogs hibernate?

Hedgehogs usually hibernate from October/November through to March/April. Research has shown that each individual is likely to move nesting sites at least once during this period and so can sometimes be seen out and about. During mild winters hedgehogs can remain active well into November and December.

While in hibernation the hedgehog’s fuel supply comes from the fat stores it has built up over the summer. Eating enough before hibernation is vital and this is when supplementary feeding can prove important to hedgehogs.

Any disturbance during this period can be extremely dangerous, as hedgehogs use up their precious energy reserves in order to become active again.

Have a look at our Hibernation FAQs for more info.