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Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Weather Watchers Reply To: Weather Watchers

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Hi James

I would be inclined to leave a supply of extra bedding outside the box, so a hog could take it in if it chose to. Hedgehogs are much better at making hibernation nests than us. You will have read in the ‘Hedgehogs’ book how elaborate the hibernation nests are and so will have realised how easy it would be for one to collapse even if the lid of a hog house was opened. If you try to put more bedding in you may disturb the ‘foundations’.

I would also be inclined to leave food in the normal place (even if you do decide to leave some nearer to the hog house as well) and not make any assumptions about where the hog/hogs is/are. You will also have seen from the Hedgehogs book that hogs sometimes move nests during the winter. There may be other hogs which expect to find food where it normally is and waste energy trying to get there. Also, consider the predator angle. Would food nearby attract predators to the inactive hedgehog? Or other, unwanted, visitors. Consider the pros and cons before you make your decision.

Not sure about the camera – is it completely noiseless? And does it give out no heat and could not be a fire risk. Temperature is important for hibernation, if the hogs warm up they could come out of hibernation at the wrong time. From the ‘Hedgehogs’ book by Pat Morris:
“Once the hedgehog has become inactive and started to hibernate, its body temperature needs to be as low as possible (a minimum of 1 degree C) to slow its metabolism and the rate at which energy (stored as fat) is used up. This is why ‘keeping hedgehogs warm’ over winter is not a good idea.”

If you are sure about these things, it may be ok, but whether you would be able to see anything, in a proper hibernaculum is another matter. It may well be blocked by ‘bedding’. You might be better off having a camera outside, to see if the hog comes out.

The night of the 27th which you referred to was a funny night here as well. The hogs who did turn up seemed very jumpy and only stayed for a series of short stretches at a time – I put it down to the wet and windy weather. They were back last night, but I haven’t seen any mature males since mid-September and most since the beginning of September. Last year was similar. The first male returned early March and the first female not until mid April. Coming out of hibernation is not an exact science, though, as neither is going into hibernation, but I think the males are usually about earlier in the year than the females.

Don’t rely on, at least some of the hogs, not coming back tonight though.