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Cleaning Hedgehog Houses

Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Cleaning Hedgehog Houses

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  • #21533

    Hello All,
    Hope you are starting to see your Hedgies returning from hibernation. I have had 3 regulars since 5th March – all males so a bit of fighting started already!

    I have a question regarding hedgehog houses – I have one in my garden installed last summer which a hedgehog used to hibernate in all winter (I caught it on camera so know it was used). the hog in there has woken up but is still returning to sleep in it each morning.
    How can I go about cleaning the house if it is still in use? Will it be detrimental to the hog if it is not cleaned out? I am thinking of getting a second house but don’t want to cause hygiene issues – my garden is only small.
    Any advice welcome 🙂
    Thank you.

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    Hi Sam1404

    You really need to wait until the hog has vacated – by which I mean properly, not just gone out for the night.

    There is some advice here:

    If you get another box the hog may decide to move into that one instead which will give you the chance to clean out the old one.

    You say that all your returners are males, which is quite normal. The males tend to go into hibernation earlier than the females and return earlier. Apart from anything else, they don’t have any hoglet rearing duties to perform in the Autumn, as the females do. The females can sometimes return as much as 2 months later. Everyone needs to bear in mind when thinking of cleaning out boxes that a female might still be there hibernating quite a while after some other hogs have returned.


    Thank you for the advice and link Nic. I have ordered a second house in the hope the hog will move into it at least for a day or two, so I can clean the other house. I will keep the cameras out to keep an eye on the comings and goings, and try and get it done before the females come out and look to nest!

    I had no idea male hedgehogs could be so aggressive towards each other until I caught the recent fights on camera. One hog even got flipped into a (shallow) water bowl! Thank goodness they have those spines to protect them!

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    Hi Sam1404

    Yes the males can be quite aggressive, especially if the more submissive one resists and is silly enough not to roll up. They seem to quite often end up in the water here, too. Can’t help laughing a bit at the poor things, although it probably isn’t very pleasant for them. Especially at this time of year, when it’s sometimes still a bit cold!

    The other day one rolled up in the water was getting a biffing and obviously got rolled over the wrong way so he tried to hastily unroll and escape – hotly pursued by the other one who seemed unimpressed that he’d had the audacity to unroll! The more aggressive one will sometimes shake the other like a terrier with a rat – which looks quite alarming.

    But they sometimes stay rolled up in the water (or anywhere) until the aggressor gives up and goes away, because if he is still nearby, it seems he will often pounce every time he hears the more submissive one unrolling.

    And they normally look so sweet and innocent!


    I haven’t seen them shake each other yet, it’s just a lot of huffing and biffing! It doesn’t seem to put them off visiting the feeding station though.

    I set up the new hedgehog house on Saturday in the hope the hog would move into the new house. I waited out last night to see if any houses were occupied. I saw hedgehogs exit from both the new and old houses so looks like I’m still not going to get a chance to clean the old house!

    I’m not complaining though, it’s lovely to see them using habitats I’ve provided so quickly.

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    Hi Sam1404

    That’s brilliant that a hog has investigated your new house so quickly!

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