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Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Still very active and eating for England! Reply To: Still very active and eating for England!

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Hi Coley

First of all, it isn’t too early for hibernation. Many of the hogs will have started hibernation quite a while ago, and probably most will be disappearing soon. Hibernation is a complicated process and not only triggered by one thing, i.e. weather conditions. But also food availability in the wild, etc.

Regarding rescuing hogs from the A1. I can see that your intention is to try to help the hogs, but it really isn’t a good idea to move them out of the area with which they are familiar. If you found a hog actually on or about to cross the road, fair enough, move it to a safe space nearby, within the immediate area. But not half a mile away.

To quote from the leaflet referred to previously “ …. Hedgehogs build a cognitive map of their home range and the environment will be familiar to them. …”. Half a mile may be taking the hog completely out of it’s home range and so it may be completely disorientated.

Whilst there are very good reasons for not moving hogs out of their home range at any time of the year, it is particularly bad at this time of year, when the hogs are about to hibernate, if they haven’t already. They may have already built a hibernaculum and they will almost certainly have been laying down fat to enable them to survive hibernation. By moving them away from the place they know, it could mean that they use up a lot of unnecessary energy, either trying to get back to somewhere they know, or possibly having to find materials for and build another hibernation nest. Either way, they are likely to be using up extra energy unnecessarily, which could put them at risk during hibernation.

Hibernation is already one of the most dangerous parts of a hog’s natural life. If they don’t have sufficient fat to keep them ticking over, they will not survive. Likewise if they do not have sufficient of the other type of fat (which they need to raise their metabolic rate to normal again, at the end of hibernation), they will not survive.

Much of the U.K. is criss-crossed with roads, many of them major ones. There is a major ‘A’ road within 2 or 3 hundred yards of where I am. For many years there has been a good population of hedgehogs in the area. It is not necessarily safer for a hog to live near a quiet road. They may be lulled into a false sense of security and amble around in the road because it’s quiet, only for a speeding motorist to suddenly come along.

I quote again from the leaflet (re. hedgehogs): “ …. trying to ensure that they never encounter a road, dog or any other danger is just not practical. …”