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Hedgehog mansion cleaning?

Home Forums Champions’ chat Hedgehog mansion cleaning?

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    So I had this nest with three little hedgehogs last year. First I spotted one abandoned youngster end of september and I called the hedgehog rescue center to ask what I should do. They told me sadly that it had to take in. Only one hour afther two others appeared and I called them again, but to my surprise they now told they could stay…. Was a bit annoyed about that as I like nature to be nature. So I red and red and learned how to feed the two youngsters well into the begin of december. We build them a luxurious mansion to hibernate. And to our surprise when we opened it a few weeks ago to clean it, at least one hedge hog had moved in as we hoped for. It was awake . And days afther we saw a lot of poo appearing in front an near its doorway. We did not dare to look for its brother or sister underneath the leaves, and quickly closed the roof/lid.

    So at least one of them hibernated in its beautiful mansion hurray! But I red afther hibernating you should clean the house in may before mothers come searching for a nest. I tested the house for the last few weeks with a stick in the door way just to check if they moved out already. So the last two days the stick did not drop again. But today hedge and I ran into each other at broad daylight and he quickly ran into its house. So I figure at least one of them doesn’t move out. Should I clean it (disturbing the hedge) or just leave it this way? He pooped a lot … but I figure in nature they don’t clean so why the cleaning tips you sometimes read?


    This morning I removed again quiet a bit of poo from his doorstep. It’s getting quiet smelly. (why are they durtieing their house so much?) Should I clean it or just leave it as it is. Placed another stick in front of the door, to check when it’s in there. But I figure it is still living there at day.


    I would ring BHPS on 01584 890801. They will tell you your nearest hedgehog carers and they should advise you on what to do.
    A hedgehog shouldn’t be out in the day so there is the possibility it is ill.
    Ring ASAP.


    Thank you for your answer. I don’t think its ill.
    Its allright, its poo is fine, it did not cough and it looked cleane with fleas and ticks. For what I red its normal that hedgehogs sometimes come out during the day for a short while. Besides that, since I last called the hedgehog foundation here in the Netherlands I was not impressed with the info. Since then I learned a lot about hedgehogs and also that some of the info given isn’t the right info. Maybe it was due to this one person? Like I said, when the same person decides a hedgehog has to be taken in and then one hour later sais its brothers/sisters don’t and even the one which had been taken in should have stayed there (…) Mother was already gone and I started feeding.

    Remains my question, >> when should I clean a hedgehog house when it’s used all winter but still being occupied.


    Hi Simbo65. To be clear thee hedgehog never shows at daylight. It was only one brief moment. And then it went back to his house.

    Remains my question, >> when should I clean a hedgehog house when it’s used all winter but still being occupied.


    Hi Lala Blanca.
    I am afraid I am not an expert at this.
    I have a similar situation but with a female who hibernated in a hedgehog house and won’t leave.
    If you look under champions chat for the post “when do hedgehogs come out of hibernation” -NIC has replied to some of my questions about cleaning out her box.
    Ideally the houses should be cleaned after hibernation but usually the hedgehogs would have left and not be using it anymore.
    Have a look at the above posts and see if that helps. I am not 100%sure but I think the best course of action is not to disturb them.
    I hope that helps a bit and maybe someone with more knowledge will reply to you.

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    Hi LalaBlanca

    Sorry to hear you haven’t had too good an experience with hedgehog carers in the Netherlands. the trouble is, with hogs it isn’t always an exact science. That applies to cleaning out the hog houses, too! Hogs will be hogs, as simbo65 has discovered, and don’t always do what we expect, or would like them to do!

    First of all the reason why it is suggested hog boxes are cleaned is so that they can be used again, hopefully free of parasites. In the wild, the hogs would make natural nests, and be likely to desert the nest after use and so avoid being re-infested with parasites that way. There is some advice on when to clean out hog houses, which you may already have seen:
    I expect you have seen that if you clean out the boxes you should not use chemicals but use boiling water to kill any parasite eggs which might be in the cracks.

    Clearly the timing of that advice is not quite going to work for you. Also the timing may be a bit different in the Netherlands. It’s possible that you left it too late, and that the hog had only recently moved in. It is also possible that it could be a nesting female (obviously I don’t know the sizes – whether it might be a youngster, etc.) But in case it is a nesting mother, you need to leave the box alone. Mothers with very young ones can easily desert them, if disturbed, or apparently even eat them. The fact that the hog was out during the day, might also suggest a nursing mother. Unless it is an unwell hog, the most likely hog to be out during the day (for short amounts of time) is a female with young.

    If it was me, I think I would try not to disturb the hog, just in case, but continue to leave something across the doorway, so that you know whether she has vacated the box. If you felt like making/purchasing another hog house, you could try locating it fairly nearby, in the hope that she decides to move in there (possibly with her young, if she has any). But it needs to be her decision. Even if it isn’t a nursing mother, you need to leave the hog until it decides to move out and then clean out the box. You say you don’t think there is a problem with parasites (i.e. fleas and ticks) so hopefully the hog will be o.k. without having the box cleaned out just yet. All we can hope is, that if it does gets too bad, the hog would decide to move out and then you can clean out the house ready for, hopefully, re-occupation.

    Hope that helps a bit.


    Thank you Nic! Yes that does help. I do think it’s one of the youngsters from last year but it docent eat any of the food I place out for him/her.

    Do you know why hogs dirty their nest so much, unlike birds etc? 😉

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    Hi LalaBlanca

    Well, some birds are quite messy! I recall seeing on TV a goldfinch nest, I think it was, which got very messy by the time the youngsters left.

    Sorry, I don’t really have an answer to that question. I haven’t found that hogs actually poo in their nest here, although they do all around, including in food boxes, which hogs sometimes then the spend the day in.

    The interesting thing is that when I have had hedgehogs, here, who decided not to hibernate, so there was only one hog left around, there was not a poo to be seen in the feeding area, but when there are more hogs around, there seems to be a fair amount. I sometimes wonder if it’s partly a nervous thing, but can’t sure.

    Pooing just outside the box, might just be that they want to keep the nest clean and that’s the nearest place.

    Maybe the hedgehog there is able to find sufficient natural food. If there is some good habitat around.

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