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Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Is anyone seeing fewer heggies for the time of year? Reply To: Is anyone seeing fewer heggies for the time of year?

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Hi Deehooper

Great to hear about the camera – endless entertainment!

Re. the hog in the hog house, the hog could already be hibernating. Males hibernate earlier than the females and that can be in September. The ‘mechanism’ of hibernation is not fully understood, but it is not solely related to temperature. It may have more to do with food availability, but it seems as if that is not the only thing as males will hibernate when there is still food around. Males usually then come out of hibernation earlier – maybe in early March, when it can still be quite cold. But it gives them an opportunity to feed up before the females return, when a lot of energy is taken up tearing around to find females, circling them, etc.

Some hogs, more often youngsters I suspect, decide not to hibernate at all and don’t seem to mind the cold as long as they have access to food and water.

That doesn’t help much with the hog in your hog house, but normally when hibernating, the hog would have taken a fairly substantial amount of ‘nesting’ material into the house to help insulate it through hibernation. So that might give you an idea of whether it is hibernating.

Hibernation is always a worrying time for hog lovers. It is the most dangerous ‘natural’ time for hogs and not all will survive. They need to have laid down the necessary amounts of two different special types of fat – one to keep them ticking over during hibernation and the other to enable them to arouse themselves from hibernation and get going again. So that if they are aroused from hibernation more times than that type of fat allows for, they may not be able to ‘wake’ themselves up at the end of hibernation. (hogs will come out of hibernation for periods during the main hibernation time and apparently sometimes even make a new nest – that will have been taken into account when laying down that special type of fat).

If you are worried you could always ring one of those organisations you mentioned and take their advice. You will be able to give them a fuller explanation and they can ask appropriate questions, etc.

Good luck. Hope all goes well.