Can I peep inside my hedgehog’s house?
24th November 2020 at 7:15 pm #28638
I was feeding my hedgehog with dog food & cat biscuits daily until it completely stopped coming for food about a month ago (3rd week October). Until then it seemed to thoroughly enjoy the meals. I have since been providing only cat biscuits which haven’t been touched. I assume it has gone to hibernation. Can I/is it advisable to open the roof of the hedgehog house I have provided and take a peek inside to see if, in fact, my hedgehog is hibernating there please? (Until the disappearance, the house was used daily since I purchased it in early September when I saw the hedgehog taking bundles of bedding inside to make it’s home. I was lucky enough to be able to watch from the kitchen window when it left the house at dusk every evening. That was until it stopped coming for its dinner)24th November 2020 at 7:45 pm #28640
I’m no expert but one will be along shortly I guess. I wouldn’t risk checking the house, if you wake the hedgehog it will use an enormous amount of energy waking up and this won’t be good for the poor little thing. They have taken on as much energy reserves as they need for hibernation and waking them now could mean they will die during hibernation.
I’ve had 3 hedgehogs visiting, mum and two babies, mum stopped feeding first then one baby and then in the last few days the other one. I have three houses in the garden and I wouldn’t dream of opening them now as I couldn’t risk 3 dead hedgehogs in the spring.
As I say I am no expert but this is what I have read on numerous sites but someone will tell you if I am wrong.24th November 2020 at 11:53 pm #28648
I know it can be very tempting, but jackietb is right, it’s not a good idea to open a hog box when there may be a hibernating hedgehog in there. It could disturb the hog, but also possibly the nest as well, depending on how well it’s built. So please try to resist the temptation.
Hedgehogs are the most amazing animals, but hibernation is one of the most naturally dangerous times of year for them. They have to put on two special types of fat. One type is to keep their metabolism ticking over until they emerge and the other is to help them to boost their metabolism to enable them to emerge from hibernation. They do sometimes naturally emerge for brief periods during hibernation and hopefully there would be enough fat for them to do that. But there may not be enough for other ‘unscheduled’ emergences.
But hogs also need to maintain a constant temperature and they build their hibernations nests to just the right depth to insulate them accordingly. So it’s also important that their nests aren’t disturbed.
There are some hogs who decide not to hibernate and if anyone has one of those visiting, just continue to feed as usual. It’s also very important to leave water available all day every day, all year round, whether you know any hogs are around or not. If a hog emerges during hibernation it might welcome a drink.
I know hibernation time is always very worrying but all we can do is hope that the hogs return from hibernation safe and well in the Spring and do our best not to disturb them in the meantime. We all miss the hogs when they are away, but it’s always a joy to see them return in the Spring.
Fingers crossed for all hibernating hogs.28th November 2020 at 3:14 pm #28675
Thanks for your sound advice JackieTB and Nic. A bit of an update in that I’ve been leaving cat biscuits (only) out which are being eaten from time to time. They are in a purpose built hog feeding station so not accessible to cats. However, I don’t think the hedgehog (I think is in the house mentioned in my previous post) is eating the food, as there are no tell-tail signs of any movement there. However, my trail cam did pick up a small rabbit hopping past the house one night and I’m wondering if is the culprit eating the cat biscuits. I’m going to move the trail cam tonight to try and solve who or what is visiting the hog feeding station. Thanks again for your advice.28th November 2020 at 8:51 pm #28676
Hi Susan R
A rabbit! That’s fun – as long as it doesn’t eat all your plants, that is! I wouldn’t have thought it would eat the cat biscuits being a herbivore, but I suppose it’s possible.
You could try putting a twig or some rolled up paper in front of the hog house door to see if it is moved, but that isn’t 100% reliable as something else could move it. But if it isn’t moved you’ll know that nothing has been in or out. But I have found that some of the birds here will tuck in to the remains of the hog food early in the morning, if they get the chance, but I normally have kitten biscuits, which are quite small.
Hopefully you find out more after you move your camera. Look forward to hearing what you find.
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