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Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Spike has been with me for 5 days and nights, is this normal? Reply To: Spike has been with me for 5 days and nights, is this normal?

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Hi Lisa

I am not entirely sure what you mean when you say Spike has not left at all. Has he/she been out during the day? Are you certain that he/she has not left your garden at all during the night?

If Spike has taken up residence in the hedgehog house, it would not be strange for him/her to stay in there during the day. It is, though, best not to disturb him/her, by opening the box. Apart from anything else, if it is a female with babies, disturbing her could cause her to eat the babies, when they are very small. (You may not know whether or not it is a female until/unless it, either appears with hoglets, or you see it’s interaction with another hedgehog. You cannot tell by size.) In general, it is best to disturb hedgehogs as little as possible and watch them from afar, and only intervene if the hedgehog is sick or injured.

It is good that you have provided a hedgehog house, but, my own personal, feeling is that it is best to provide hedgehogs with natural nesting material. I feel that it is important to allow them to be as wild as possible and not try to treat them as pets. We can provide them with hedgehog houses and leave it to them to decide what they put in them, providing piles of leaves, dried grass, etc. nearby. It is an honour for a wild animal to choose to share our gardens with us.

In general, I would not recommend putting the feeding station immediately next to the hedgehog house, unless you are happy for it to be used only for occasional visitors. I do have a hog house near to where I feed, but this is used by hogs having a quick nap between feeds, or a place to escape to, if a predator (i.e. A dog, or even a human) appears. If there are eventually other hog visitors, the original hedgehog may not like having so many other hogs around his/her house – a bit like birds’ nests being too near to feeders, and them having to keep protecting the area around their nest. Having said that, you seem to have a visitor already so maybe best not to upset him/her by moving it now.

It is best to feed either hedgehog food, or dog/cat food and always make sure the hedgehogs have easy access to water. It is a good idea to have a permanent source of water outside any feeding station as well – either a pond (making sure it is easy for the hedgehog to get out of it, if it falls in) or a large plant saucer with water. They are a bit inclined to walk through the water, so the bigger the saucer, the less likely it will tip over. I have water at various places in the garden, including near their main access point.

Then, perhaps most important of all, try to make your new garden as wildlife friendly as you can, so that the hedgehogs can find natural food there. There are lots of tips on this site – see under ‘Help Hedgehogs’. Easy things to try are bug hotels, log piles (even small ones can be useful), wild flower areas. It doesn’t have to be untidy, but make sure, if you are tidying it up, that you check carefully that there are no hedgehogs there before using any garden machinery or equipment.

It is important that hedgehogs have access to other gardens as well.

Good luck.