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Home Forums Champions’ chat Hedgehog Hibernation all the facts Reply To: Hedgehog Hibernation all the facts

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Hi Hoglet

I’m sorry to hear that some of the hoglets died. I hope the others are ok.

I’m struggling to understand whether it was recently you were directed to that Hibernation information and if so, who and why they would have directed you to that version. The reason I’m puzzled is because it is old information from last year and some new hibernation information was released on News on 11th November 2019. i.e. this year. (link given above).

However, I agree the wording on the old version is not totally ideal. But, it is open to interpretation and does say: “ …. so please do keep providing food until you start to notice that the food stops being taken, or gradually less and less is eaten – then you can gradually stop putting food out altogether…..” So I interpret: it isn’t saying stop feeding if there are hedgehogs still there, just if they stop visiting for food, then gradually reduce, and eventually stop. But gradually reducing would not begin until the hogs had stopped visiting (i.e. it would be a safety net, in case they came back). So, for instance if hogs just don’t stop visiting, like the ones here in the past, you would just continue feeding unless or until they decided to hibernate.

Then I suspect this may be the bit you don’t like: “… It’s not necessary to put food out over winter as it will more than likely go to waste with hedgehogs hibernating….” But it does go on to say “… On very mild days, or when you notice hedgehog activity in your garden, you may want to put some food out for a short time until it gets cold again.” I interpret this as meaning if you have stopped feeding and you see evidence of hogs, you could put food out again. Then, to my mind, the previous advice would come into effect – that if they stopped visiting again you would gradually reduce the amount of food put out and eventually stop (if they didn’t return). But it all has to be read as a whole. It doesn’t make sense if bits are picked out here and there. Because if hogs hadn’t ever stopped visiting you would still be covered by the advice: “…so please do keep providing food until you start to notice that the food stops being taken ..”

I really don’t think it was in any way meant to suggest stopping feeding when there were still hedgehogs around.

But really it is a bit academic because there is now a new version ‘Hibernation FAQs’ – link given above, which makes things slightly clearer. But it’s a bit worrying if someone is still directing people to the old version.

With regard to the ‘Should I keep feeding hedgehogs over Winter’ information. I don’t think it is a good idea to pick out one part of a sentence in isolation. It actually says in answer to the question should food continue to be left out over winter? :
“The answer is YES… as long as it’s being eaten. It’s difficult to tell exactly when hedgehogs will begin hibernation, so when you start to see that food is not being taken, you can stop putting so much out and eventually stop altogether.”
But goes on to say:
“Hedgehogs do sometimes wake up from hibernation in response to milder weather. If you notice any particularly mild periods over winter, you could put a little food back out to help them along.”

In other words, it is more or less agreeing with you that hogs should be fed in winter – if they are around. But if they stop visiting, perhaps it’s sensible not to leave out loads of food which very probably won’t be eaten. (having allowed a buffer time, during which the food is gradually reduced.) But then keep an eye out in case hogs appear again and if they do, offer food again. Bear in mind that it’s trying to cater for different potential circumstances.

Hopefully you will feel a bit better about it now.

One day, hopefully, someone will do some research into just how many hogs there really are not hibernating and whether it is actually mostly hoglets, but it seems likely that the vast majority still do hibernate.