Hibernation weight advice confusing
4th November 2019 at 8:25 am #19333
I’m currently fostering 6 hogs in conjunction with Warwickshire Hedgehog Rescue and some of them are now approaching release weight. I realise that there are climatic and environmental issues affecting release but I would really like some clarity about optimum release weight. In researching this I’ve found recommended release weights from 450g upwards, with 600g being a popular weight. A number of my hogs were rescued when they were babies and I’d be very concerned about releasing them at 450g. The advice from my rescue centre is that 700-750g is a good release weight for hogs who have never been in the wild although, looking at the behaviour of mine, they seem to be fed up with being in a hutch from about 650g onwards! I’ve read most of the (often conflicting) advice but would be interested to hear the views of other carers about the weight you would release at in normal November weather. I live in the Midlands. Thanks!4th November 2019 at 7:47 pm #19349
You should find the information you need in this document: http://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/pdf/Hibernation-Weight.pdf
Bit basically, “…Those hibernating at less than 450g will probably not survive (although some occasionally do). .”
But for hogs which have been in captivity, they “… should not be released at weights below 500g in autumn (600g in very late autumn/early winter).”
That’s because they are likely to lose weight upon release.
If you’re fostering hogs I recommend that you read the whole document as well as the following:
and http://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/BHPS-Guidance-For-relasing-Rehabilitated-Hedgehogs.pdf and the link contained in it about releasing hogs over winter.5th November 2019 at 7:12 am #19372
Thanks Nic, I’ve read these with interest. Whilst I want to release my hogs at as safe a weight as possible, it’s not fair to keep them in a hutch for too long. We’re always careful to pick appropriate release sites and I think we’ll continue to look for good release from 650g onwards at this time of year. We’re fortunate to be part of a large network in Warwickshire with lots of experience and good local knowledge. Like all other networks at the moment though we are all completely full and are now referring sick or injured hogs on to The Vale. Thanks again!5th November 2019 at 8:41 am #19373
I totally agree about the confusion over release weights. In my own experience, as long as there is supplementary food provided, they will continue to feed in all weathers until they reach an appropriate weight to hibernate. A little lady who was rescued as a tiny hoglet and not expected to pull through, was released into our garden last November weighing just over 500 grams, she continued to visit every night until early January when she went off to hibernate and on return has gone on to produce two litters of hoglets! 🙂 On occasion, we have also had juveniles that have visited for food throughout the winter.
It is heartbreaking to watch when they become cage stressed and are desperate to escape and at that point I think it is kinder to release them. As long as there is someone to provide food and shelter and keep a close eye on them they have every chance of survival, I think you have to follow your heart… 🙂5th November 2019 at 4:38 pm #19377
Thanks for the reply, very helpful!
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