27th November 2019 at 10:31 am #20027
I have 2 hog houses. One I’ve had for a couple of years and has been much used. The other is new. Both full of plenty fresh straw. Checking older house thought there must be large hog asleep, as the straw was so high and dense. Checked new house and there was not a scrap of straw left in it. The hog must have spent all night shifting the straw to his hibernation house. Aw, bless.27th November 2019 at 10:13 pm #20037
Love that! Typical hog!28th November 2019 at 1:18 am #20044
Straw is good I believe as it’s good for insulation – when I worked at an animal shelter, they used straw (tons of it) for the pigs to snuggle under in the winter, and also the sheep.
Although pigs have got a reputation for being unclean, they keep their bedding superbly clean, you only have to replace it if it gets wet with the rain – with the sheep – you have to replace it every day, as they toilet on it.
I put straw in the hedgehog home I’ve got and it’s been a success – however, for one week, every night at the same time, Sapphire, who is the resident, was also carrying leaves and bringing it in – so must be rampacked by now, however, I have seen she’s dragged some of the leaves out earlier this week- so I wonder if she got too warm?
When I rescued an underweight (Sweetpea) I kept her in a cage, and had a little cardboard box which I’d give her some straw each day, and she was really good about not defecating in her box, but she also liked to pull the straw out, so perhaps they do that when they feel too warm?28th November 2019 at 12:15 pm #20053
Straw might be useful if you have no other materials around, but the natural material for hogs to use is leaves. Lots and lots of leaves! They prefer medium sized leaves. They will also use long ornamental grasses to weave the leaves together. Inevitably, in a good hibernation nest, far more material will be used that you expect. Leaves are layed flat against each other like tiles, intersecting each other and many layers of them, to make the nest waterproof. It seems amazing that hogs can create such a structure, but they do. They need to be able to make their nest waterproof because they may not always be building it in a box/igloo.
So if anyone has access to leaves, I would provide the hog a good source of those nearby. If you have long, ornamental grasses in your garden, then maybe cut some of that and leave little piles around as well.28th November 2019 at 1:38 pm #20054
There are plenty leaves round my garden and in past years when they have left the house and I have cleaned it, there have been plenty leaves along with the straw. I leave them to add their own leaves. But this hog obviously decided he/she wanted all the extra straw as well as any leaves they may have gathered.28th November 2019 at 6:14 pm #20059
That’s brilliant Scottiebear. The leaves probably helped to bind the straw together. Very clever hog, also making use of what was easily to hand – or, to paw! As said, they do tend to use a huge amount of material.28th November 2019 at 7:20 pm #20061
How on earth do they manage to weave everything together – they haven’t got fingers like we have, and even human’s struggle to weave (I’m talking about myself here after going on willow weaving courses and ended up with very wonky and holey baskets).
I’d noticed, in the summer when a hog had vacated the house, I peered inside and noticed they had shredded the newspaper and had weaved it into the straw. It’s amazing28th November 2019 at 9:25 pm #20063
I’m guessing they like dry leaves???
Also I have some zebra grass in the garden and some very fine bamboo in tubs- Would the hedgehogs like these? what size should I cut it to… a foot???
I am not convinced Big Leg has made a nest as I have no evidence of him being productive- He has straw and the leaves I dried for him in the box but from your posts I would say it’s nowhere near enough leaves. He seems to have hibernated in the house so must be OK in there for now.
We are going away so I will lay a plant pot down and put more leaves and grasses in. If he does come out it will be there for him and hopefully it would have stayed dry.29th November 2019 at 12:22 am #20071
I used to try to leave some dry leaves, but it isn’t always possible. But I tend to rake the leaves off the lawn a bit and leave piles of leaves at the edges, so presumably there would be some fairly dry ones underneath if required. But I’m not sure that they don’t use some damp ones as well. The hoglet that got filmed by my camera here, even picked some green vegetation and took it into the nest.
I’m not sure how course zebra grass is, but you could try it. If they don’t like it they will ignore it. But the grasses I have are quite fine. I cut them as long as was possible. Some possibly about 15 inches long, at a guess. I just left a pile not knowing whether they would be used, but they turned out to be very popular. It was really quite funny seeing the hog going in and out of the box with great mouthfuls – the grass sticking out either side like an enormously long moustache!
Is Big Leg still in the enclosure, or can he get access to the rest of your garden now, if he wants? I’m not sure that all hogs always build such elaborate nests, it probably depends a bit on what the structure is around, how big, etc. For instance, we had one, once that hibernated under a pallet that hay was stored on and that just had a collection of hay around it. But was obviously well sheltered under all the bales of hay on top.29th November 2019 at 12:29 am #20072
Hi Hedgie Lover
I have no idea how the hogs do it, but some birds build very elaborate nests (i.e. weavers, etc.) with only beaks.
What amazed me about the one here, was that it was built by a hoglet.
All part of the magic of hogs. They have to have some secrets! But they’re cleverer than we sometimes think.29th November 2019 at 12:49 am #20073
All animals are much cleverer than we initially think.
It’s gonna be minus 3 in my area on Friday night – so now putting out two bowls of dried food, one bowl with spikes, the other with cat biscuits. Just as the juveniles (two or three now) are still eating and I’m now trying to offer a bit more to give them a better chance. They completely finished the one bowl last night, so thought I’d double it up tonight. So far only one has been a couple of times this evening, and eaten quite a bit. But don’t think they’ll get through all the food.
If they don’t hibernate, they are gonna be the biggest hedgies in town by spring – all those adults will be submissive ones and the juveniles will be ruling the roost. Fingers crossed that they’ll survive as it looks like this year (so far) winter’s set to be a cold one.
At least I don’t suffer from flooding in my area, but near to areas that do – been working in these areas this week, trying to replace public rights of way – (one in a park and one in a primary school nature area), and even though we have put at least 6inches of stone down above the ground – all the water rises to the top of it and the new path is flooded. We’ve had to get permission from the council to put pipe’s in.
I’d dread to think if my area was like that, all the hedgehogs that have visited my garden might have drowned.
But on a good note, we’ve spent ages digging out space for a massive pond, which is fairly deep in the middle, and lined it on Halloween, and I came back today – and it was full to the brim.
But a shocking autumn for the hedgehogs.
Have you any ideas as to why this year has been particulary bad for the late arrivals, the hedgehog hospital keeps putting updates such as ‘another one under 300g, what is going on?’
A BBC article said the reason was because a lot of hoglets have drowned, and the females have given birth to another litter to replace them? Do you think this is the reason?29th November 2019 at 8:09 am #20077
Hi Big Leg is not enclosed.
We only did it for 2 nights and then he could go wherever he liked- which was straight to bed!
I will have a look in the garden and see what might suit his needs if he decides he needs to come out.
Silli still around?29th November 2019 at 8:12 am #20078
I am not in a flood area but it’s looked awful on the news- both for the people and all wildlife.
We can only do our best and hope that in some small way we are helping. You certainly do much more than me.
Hope your visitors don’t eat you out of house and home.
Good luck little hoggies!29th November 2019 at 6:52 pm #20085
It’s the same every year with the rescue hospitals. Part of it is probably because some hoglets are ‘rescued’ too early and then everywhere is full up by the time the late ones come along. Some places seem to be ignoring, or maybe don’t know about, the advice from BHPS regarding releasing during the winter. https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/guidance-on-releasing-rehabilitated-hedgehogs/
But it is very sad for any hogs in the flooded areas.
The hoglets probably won’t mind the cold, Hedgie Lover. When I have had non-hibernating hogs, they still visited all winter. I can’t remember the temperature exactly, but they were very cold winters and the only days they didn’t get here were when the snow was too deep. As soon as they could get through, they were back again.
Siili was here last night, simbo65. She has missed a couple of nights recently (or the camera has missed her!) and I thought she might be thinking of hibernating. I’m having terrible trouble with a particularly enterprising cat. It’s trying to get a balance with making sure Siili can get the food and blocking the cat out. I normally try to keep things in the same place for Siili, but have had to put some obstacles in the way and hope she finds the way through.
It’s unfortunate that Siili won’t use the box, because I think I may have stopped the cat getting in there. The food in there hasn’t been touched since my last changes. But maybe I’ve stopped Siili as well! Luckily, last night she got here first, to the outside food. But the cat still managed to get to the remains. So tonight, there is yet another obstacle. I would be impressed by that cat, if it wasn’t such a nuisance! So far the cat is still winning!30th November 2019 at 1:23 am #20088
Those pesky cats, thankfully mine all use the feeding station, and the 4inch hole keeps the cats away. Even though the advice is 5inch. This summer, Klepto was the biggest hog I’ve ever seen so far, and he managed with no problem.
Obviously, I might end up with very large hogs next summer, as they now know where the food is, so they’ll start eating it in the spring instead of July when I first started feeding them.
It’s possible that other neighbours are doing the same, but haven’t seen any evidence yet.
I might only have the one hog now still eating, Sapphire (who is in the hedgehog house), however, I did hear some movement where Opal’s nest is.
So maybe just the two now.
But I guess I’m very lucky to have two visiting as many people are desperate for just the one.
I put two bowls of food out last night – and one full bowl had been eaten, way too much for just one juvenile, however, they can eat a lot if they get the chance, so I’ve discovered.
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