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Home Forums Champions’ chat Hedgehog hibernating in damp hay – does it matter? Reply To: Hedgehog hibernating in damp hay – does it matter?

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The main thing is not to confuse feeding houses, hogilos, whatever, with hibernation nesting places. So that if you want to use a hogilo as a feeding ‘house’ don’t put hay in it (which might encourage hogs to nest). But you will also need to somehow fix it to the ground so that predators or cats can’t gain access (whether for nesting or feeding). Personally, I think boxes are preferable as both nesting boxes or for feeding, even if hogilos tend to be cheaper. It’s not really a good idea to have a feeding station near to nesting places, as it might attract predators.

You don’t have to use the lid of an underbed store, KippyBen, just use it upside down, so that it could be used in the same way that you are using the hogilo. But, would of course need weighing/pegging down, like a hogilo to avoid cats/predators. They have the advantage that you can get see through ones.

It isn’t a good idea to check for occupation by disturbing a nest of any kind, so I don’t think a hogilo is a problem in that respect. In the wild hogs would be building their hibernacula on the ground. They build a layer of vegetation at the bottom as well as on top inside the structure. To the hogs, a hogilo is not a hogilo, just a structure, within which they can build a nest if they choose. Similar to a network of branches in hedge.

But likewise, Aggie, if there is any chance the hog is hibernating in the hogilo, it isn’t a good idea to lift it up at all. (not a good idea to disturb any nesting hog). It should be left, otherwise you could be not only disturbing the hog, but also altering the temperature. If hogs have made a proper hibernating nest, it should be well insulated so that the hogs can maintain a pretty constant, if fairly low, temperature during hibernation. But they will have taken into account the actual hogilo as part of that. The hog there may not actually be hibernating yet, if it is still eating food, but I would not disturb it in the nest anyway.

Hogs put down two types of fat before hibernation. One type keeps them ticking over and the other gives them energy to arouse from hibernation. Hibernation is not sleeping, it is a slowing down of bodily functions. A useful mechanism to allow them to survive when their natural food sources are not so readly available. But if they are disturbed unnecessarily, they could be wasting some of that fat.

As well as feeding boxes, I use a sheet of perspex type material resting on 4, 2 litre earth filled posts with bricks on top to stop the sheet blowing away/cats lifting it. You could use any sheet of material. I just use perspex type material as it’s see through (and I hapened to have some around!) Some hogs aren’t keen on going in boxes, but seem to think this arrangement is still outside. It also, of course helps keep the food dry if it rains. Because it’s quite low, the cats aren’t keen on going under it. The larger the sheet of material the better – the further cats will have to go to reach the food. If you place this arrangement against a wall, it means they can’t access it from that side, so makes it more difficult. But the hogs would still have escape routes in all other directions if they needed it. The sheeting is easily removable for daytime.