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Home Forums Champions’ chat Providing bedding Reply To: Providing bedding

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It’s great that so many people are providing hedgehog houses and other places for hogs to nest.

However, please bear in mind; hay, straw, newspaper, etc. might be adequate nesting material in a waterproof hedgehog box/shed (as well as for hedgehogs which have to be kept in captivity i.e. if they are sick, injured or need over-wintering) but not if they are trying to build hibernating nests outside – which many may have to do.

Is it not the aim to allow hedgehogs, as much as possible, to be their natural wild robust selves which they have evolved to be over millions of years – able to build a hibernaculum without a hedgehog box, using leaves, grasses and other natural plant materials which they can find – as they historically and successfully have done. Bearing in mind that not all hedgehogs will have the luxury of a waterproof hedgehog box or a shed to nest in every year.

In the same way that hedgehogs will often eat inappropriate food that we supply, they will also use less than ideal nesting material if we provide it. Especially if it is the most easily accessible. It might work out using torn up newspaper, hay, straw and any other bedding which humans might think suitable, in a shed or in a well waterproofed hedgehog house. But what happens next year when the hedgehogs may not have that luxury and they try to use those same materials outside, or even in a less waterproof hog house. They could end up with a pretty soggy nest!

So please try to provide the hogs, as a priority, with access to as many natural materials (medium sized leaves, long grasses, etc.) to build their nests as possible (even if that nest is inside a shed or in a hog box) – and then only provide other (preferably non-absorbent) materials, if they are needed because there is a shortage of anything else. Lest it becomes a learned behaviour to use less natural materials and the hedgehogs forget how to build natural hibernacula which are ideally suited to the conditions they need for hibernation.