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Autumn advice for juvenile hedgehogs

28th September 2022

Autumn time is when hedgehogs need to build up their fat reserves ready for hibernation. This is particularly important for any late summer and autumn litters, as they need to be big enough to survive their first hibernation. Hoglets spend 3 to 4 weeks in the nest with their mum, then around 2 to 4 weeks learning how to forage with her. Then they are out in the big wide world by themselves.

Two hoglets having a feast

Ready for bed

Hedgehogs can successfully hibernate at a minimum weight of 450g, but are more likely to survive hibernation at 600g and will be in better condition post hibernation. They need to keep eating right up to hibernation, so we suggest helping them gain the weight needed by supplementary feeding. This doesn’t replace the creepy crawlies they eat in the wild, but will help them bulk up, particularly during periods when their natural food is scarce.

We suggest feeding during Autumn until they stop taking the food and then offer a few dry biscuits that don’t go off so quickly. Hedgehogs will wake from time to time during hibernation so if biscuits are taken or there’s a spell of mild weather, you could resume feeding again and repeat the process.

This hoglet is learning to forage from her mother

Helping a hoglet

Keep an eye out during Autumn for hoglets or juveniles which look underweight or sick, who may need to be overwintered by a carer.

As long as they are over 450g, look healthy and are out only at night then it is best to leave them in the wild and offer food and water. If you ever have any concern about their health, please do contact BHPS on or 01584 890801.

Please note that hedgehogs are best left alone and not handled unless they are in need of help. If you think a hedgehog needs to be weighed, please do so wearing thick gloves, as quickly and quietly as possible in the garden to minimise stress caused to the hedgehog. If it is not in need of help, please release it immediately.