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Hibernation

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  • #8553

    One of my babies on the 27.1.2018 came out of hibernation to feed (September born). I have been putting food out every night and yes I am feeding the local cat and the blackbirds during the day but I couldn’t risk my babies not finding food. Last year I had hedgehogs all through the winter caught on camera and thought that was going to happen again this year but they hibernated in December even though they were small. So glad to see them.

    #8556
    Avatar photo
    Nic

    Hi Hoglet

    I am pleased for you that one of the ‘babies’ has returned. The only worry is that it might have returned from hibernation early because it was not quite big enough in the first place. It will be a great help to it that you are providing food and water, but if you think it looks a bit small or a bit thin it might be worth checking with a local rehabilitator to make sure it weighs enough to continue to survive without additional help. Winter is far from over and we often get some very cold spells in February or later.

    One late hoglet here decided not to hibernate, despite being big enough. Even so, she seems to have grown, despite it sometimes being a bit of a struggle to make sure someone else doesn’t eat all the food before she gets a chance!

    Good luck with the little one there. I hope it grows to be a fine big adult hedgehog.

    #8558

    Hi Nic

    Although they are small definitely not thin they look healthy I think there are 2 maybe 3 of them but they seem to have ticks, one more than the other (its difficult to tell on camera) so I have got my tick remover handy and will try and catch them to sort them out. They are coming every night now I have had a camera rigged up all winter and yes I know winter is not over but I have several hedgehog homes which they can shuffle back too, including 4 made homes and 3 wood piles. The adults in my garden are still asleep.
    I have the phone number from the vets of someone who takes in hedgehogs and in an emergency I will contact her but I understand a lot of these lovely people are overrun with hedgehogs and I like to try not interfere with nature just give it a helping hand.

    #8562
    Avatar photo
    Nic

    Hi Hoglet

    I know what you mean about not wanting to interfere too much. In general, I have a hands off approach, myself, with wild animals, unless they really need help. It’s good that the hogs are not looking thin and hopefully will be ok with the food you are providing. They are lucky it was there waiting for them.

    It’s amazing there are still ticks around. A result of the mild weather, I suppose.

    #8564

    Hi Nix

    Last year (2016-2017 winter) I put the hedgehog food out every day and caught them on camera feeding every night. I thought the same would happen this year so I have put the food out every night but it has been eaten by a local cat and blackbirds. I couldn’t take the risk with these youngsters coming out of hibernation and there was no food.
    I have still got to check they are ticks I might be wrong but can’t imagine what else they could be. One is worse than the other.

    #8591

    Last night the coldest of the year I had a visit from a hedgehog on 6 separate occasions through the night. What worries me is that people set up hedgehog feeding stations and they are not there when they need them in the depths of winter because hedgehogs ‘hibernate’. That is two years now that I have fed them in winter and they seem to be flourishing in my garden. I will be putting out 4 more hedgehog houses in the spring when I find out what happened with the 4 I have already put out.

    #8592
    Avatar photo
    Nic

    Hi Hoglet

    Good to hear the hog there is still visiting for food.

    I think it is a good idea to leave some food out during the winter. Some hogs wake up briefly during hibernation and would probably welcome some food. Then there are the ones like the ones there who come out of hibernation early and the one here who just didn’t hibernate at all. It has been particularly strange weather this year with some quite mild spells interspersed with cold spells. Maybe this is a taste of things to come – with global warming, but if so, it seems likely that there will be more hogs around during the winter and we may have to change the way we think about hibernation.

    I think it is still a small minority around at the moment (certainly here) but am not sure that, in general, anyone really knows. I think it would be a good idea if some sort of survey was done of how many hogs there really are around in the winter. Otherwise it is just anecdotal. But I think it is potentially a serious problem if these sorts of weather conditions continue and hogs continue to be about in the winter unbeknownst to many.

    I did try to suggest to BHPS about the possibility of a winter hog survey, but not sure whether it got through to the appropriate person. If you agree that it would be a good idea, perhaps if more than one person suggested it, it might be taken more seriously (?) Perhaps it could be done through Hedgehog Street in a similar way to the Hog houses survey.

    Did you have any luck with the ticks?

    #8615

    Hi Nic

    Thank you for your feedback you are the first person to listen to what I am saying. For the past year I have tried to get it out there that hedgehogs don’t all hibernate and need food leaving out for them. I even tried to contact Brian May on his Facebook as he is trying to help hedgehogs but I got no response. Last winter, as I said before, I fed hedgehogs every night and have film of them. I will gladly contact the BHPS to try and get a winter hog survey.
    I think we are losing hedgehogs because of badgers eating them there seems to be increasing population of badgers now, you never used to see them as road kill it always used to be rabbits and hedgehogs. So it is more important that if you set up a feeding station that they find food there if they need it.
    I haven’t manage to catch a hedgehog yet to have a look to see if they are ticks. Last night they visited 3 times between 2 o’clock and 6 o’clock. Thanks again.

    #8616

    Hi Nic
    Quick update on the little hedgehog. I went to put my camera on and the hedgehog was feeding. I grabbed it and yes it was ticks I could see, lots of them and after a 2 1\2 round trip with road closures I have taken it to a carer. It is a little girl now called Kayleigh which I hope to get back in a couple of days after treatment. If you want to see her go to Jen’s hedgehogs on Facebook.

    #8619

    Kayleigh survived the night although not very active which is not surprising with the amount of ticks and fleas she has. She weighs 565g

    #8630
    Avatar photo
    Nic

    Hi Hoglet

    I’m glad to hear Kayleigh survived the night. Well done for getting her help. I had a look at her on Jen’s Facebook page. 565g doesn’t sound too bad, to me, at the tail end of hibernation, especially if she had lots of parasites. Mind you, did that include the weight of the parasites?! It’s nice that she’s a female and hopefully will have hoglets of her own when the time comes.

    I think there are other people who have had hedgehogs which don’t hibernate and some people leave food out all winter as you have. People have mentioned it on Hedgehog Street in the past, but there are probably lots of others who haven’t.

    About the badgers. I don’t think it is as straightforward as badgers eating hedgehogs and I think you can’t always believe what you hear/read. Sometimes vested interests intervene in these sorts of debates. Hedgehogs will sometimes move away if there are badgers in their area, partly because they share similar food sources. (Around 80% of badgers’ diet is earthworms and they also eat slugs and insects). So it is not safe to assume that hedgehog numbers are lower in areas where badgers are present simply because the badgers have eaten the hedgehogs. Badgers and hedgehogs were living side by side for a very long time, until we humans came along and made life difficult for both species. Part of the problem is suitable habitat for both. The State of Hedgehogs 2018 says: “…. Badgers and hedgehogs, however, co-exist in many areas and a better understanding of the habitat features that support both is needed. ….”. If we want to have hedgehogs around then we need to create more suitable habitat for them. It would be very sad if we reached a situation that they only survive if we are artificially feeding them. They are wild animals and deserve to be able to live as wild animals.

    If hedgehog numbers in your area are declining there are plenty of other things which could be the cause. Not least the A24 trap which the BHPS is petitioning about. Because it is a self re-setting trap, it has the capability of wiping out a whole population of hedgehogs in a very short space of time and that is what they are used for in New Zealand. I hope you have signed the petition and asked all your friends to sign and pass on the information. That trap is something the hedgehogs could really do without. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/206274

    Let us know how Kayleigh gets on.

    #8672

    Hi Nic
    Thanks for Info on the badgers as yes I have signed the petition on the NZ traps.
    The good news is Kayleigh came home last night and was released after fighting lungworm and pneumonia it was touch and go for a while but Jen did a brilliant job.

    #8673
    Avatar photo
    Nic

    Hi Hoglet.

    Brilliant news about Kayleigh. I’m sure she will be feeling much better without that and all the ticks, etc.

    I’m pleased to hear you have signed the petition. Please pass the word on to as many people as possible, as the rate of signing at the moment isn’t enough to reach the 100,000 needed to have it debated in Parliament, in time.

    I hope Kayleigh continues to do well.

    #8703

    It is interesting to read that not all hedgehogs hibernate. I have continued to put food out all through the winter. Some days, the food has gone. Other days, it remains. However, I’m not sure that it is really “my” hedgehog that is eating the food! Is there any way that I can tell if I am feeding a hedgehog rather than other night creatures?

    #8707
    Avatar photo
    Nic

    Hi Prof

    A lot of people use wildlife cams to see what is eating the food. A possibly cheaper method might be a footprint tunnel. The following are some links which I found last year when someone else was interested.

    Footprint tunnels

    https://ptes.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Guidance-for-detecting-hedgehogs-using-tracking-tunnels.pdf

    https://www.wildcareshop.com/tracking-tunnel-1.html

    I still haven’t heard any reports from anyone actually using them, but they sound quite interesting.

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