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Coming up for air

Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Coming up for air

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    I keep three nocturnal cameras [ bird box cameras] trained on feeding dishes in a rural garden, and have a very good idea about the comings and goings of the local hoard of hogs. Usually between 6- 10 regularly in summer. I had to rescue two [250g in December] , and the rest dissapeared around the 12th December, presumably to hibernate.

    No sightings at all for one month, then the last two nights, and yesterday afternoon at 15.00 we saw several. The sun had been out, but air temperature remained about 0 degrees, with frost on the ground. Good appetites.

    I have seen hogs out in -5 degrees in the past, [>500 g] and they do get through winter OK. But when there is a big drop in temperature they do know that they need to stock up, so will awake , eat for much longer than usual, and then go back to hibernation [not proved]. However, how would they know that they should come out of hibernation to stock up ? My hypothesis is Air Pressure. Two nights ago the pressure climbed quickly, the air cooled and that would be enough to give them a signal. So whilst we have this high pressure on the UK, be especially vigilant to feed them if they arrive.

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    It’s fairly well known that hogs do emerge from hibernation for short periods and are even known to build new nests during the course of hibernation. So it’s a good idea to be vigilant throughout the winter, whether the pressure is high or low, in case an hogs could do with a top up of food. Although it seems likely (bearing in mind that hogs haven’t always had humans providing food for them) that these emergences mid hibernation are built in to the fat amounts they need to lay down before embarking on hibernation.

    Water should be left out all day every day, including winter. If possible during winter, it’s best to leave some water where it’s less likely to freeze as solid, maybe near the house.

    Hibernation is a complex thing and it’s likely that both going into hibernation and emerging from it are triggered by a combination of factors.

    A nice treat for you to see some hogs mid-winter!

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