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Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Hibernation

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    I think my 3 visiting hogs have now gone into hibernation. The youngest one was coming until 2 days ago. Yesterday I checked the hedgehog house that had lain empty all summer so wasn’t really expecting to find him/her curled up in the straw. So they’ve found a good safe place & I am happy. I believe I have another in a safe well sheltered place under the privet.
    I will continue to leave out food & water. Just hope they all survive & come back in the spring.

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    Hi Annie

    It’s always a bit sad when they go off to hibernate, isn’t it. I still have one old girl visiting and two hoglets (not together). I think you are sensible keeping putting out the food and water, as one of the hoglets, here, only turned up 2 nights ago. Last year they were arriving until near the end of the month.

    I hope the hogs there have a good hibernation and return safe and sound next year.


    Hi Nic
    I have had a lot of enjoyment from my visitors for sure. The food is still being eaten but I’ve not been able to check the cctv so maybe like yours they are still active.
    He/she is still in the hog house & I was going to gently add bit more hay, as it’s basically a small dog kennel and I was concerned that it was too big an area for him stay warm. He is is tucked up the corner away from the opening in straw, but I want give him the best chance as pretty sure it’s the hoglet. Do you have any advice?
    Thanks Ann

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    Hi Ann
    I would check your cctv, in case, if you can, as sometimes very small hoglets turn up at this time of year. Also to make sure it isn’t a cat or rat eating the food. All year, until recently, the cats have not been eating the hog food here – they usually just turn up their noses at it, but now one has decided it likes it. Very annoying as the hogs really need the food now and the current hog and hoglet visitors don’t seem keen on going into the box to eat – they prefer eating al fresco! The bowl of food in there has always hardly been touched in the morning, and I suspect that was by a wood mouse.

    Re. the hog hibernating – Just my own thoughts, but I would be inclined to let him be. He will have made his own nest inside the dog kennel. Hogs have been making hibernacula for millions of years without our help and my feeling is that they are better at it than we could ever be. It isn’t always about keeping warm, as such, but maintaining the correct temperature, etc. Adding to it could alter the balance and even, potentially, cause it to partially collapse. I would leave him some extra hay/leaves nearby, so that if he wakes up he can make his own adjustments. Also, bear in mind that, apparently, they sometimes move nests during hibernation. So having some food near to hand and especially some water might be handy, although not everyone wants to keep putting food out all winter.

    I’m beginning to wonder whether the mature female here is going to hibernate at all. She is already out and about a good 2 weeks later than she was last year – it is always a treat to see her, though.


    Thank you for the advice Nic.
    I will leave some hay under a cover close by so he can take it or leave it. I am just happy he’s using it. I don’t know why I worry as when I came across the mature hedgehog, by accident In February, he was wrapped in leaves by the side of the garage! I will check cctv over the weekend. I have seen a mouse & a rat I the yard but Only recently. The cat is a good deterrent – usually. Though he has no issues with the hogs. I will however look for any Hoglets on the cameras.
    We have been leaving some hedgehog food in the normal place so will continue to do so as the mature ones may turn up too & I will put some close to the kennel.
    Must be lovely having the hogs still coming along. : 🙂

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    Hi Ann

    If only all these hogs knew what lengths we go to for them – his own covered hay store!

    I have become more tolerant of one of the cats – as you say – in the hope that he will deter any rats. That one doesn’t touch the hog food. I saw it catching a poor unfortunate mouse one night – so quick. It was there one second then gone in a flash.

    Yes, it is nice to have a few hogs still around.


    We have had an adult visiting us all this year, having first arrived last summer. Briefly at the start of the year we had 2 adults, but that didn’t ladt long – last year’s visitor soon saw the imposter off 🙁
    However, last Friday we had a young ‘un suddenly arrive, who has visited every night since. After initial protest, the adult seems to have accepted the new kid on the block, and both are still visiting every night. We are concerned that the little one may be too small for hibernation at this time, but we have been putting plenty of food down which is being gladly accepted, so hopefully he/she will gain enough weight quickly before the weather turns. Have a lovely photo of him/her eating, and quite a lot of night footage too – he/she stays around for several hours, obviously knowing that we will top up the food if needs be.
    Any advice/things we should be doing other than food and water?

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    Hi logginthelog

    It would be a good idea to leave lots of potential bedding around such as leaves (preferably medium sized)/hay, etc. The little one, in particular, may not have made a hibernating nest yet.

    I would be inclined to try to weigh the little one, bearing in mind the time of year and that it is beginning to get colder. They need to weigh at least 450g to have a chance of surviving hibernation (although there is never any guarantee).

    You should be able to get the number of someone local, who will be able to help if the little one needs over-wintering, advise about weights in relation to local conditions, etc. from the BHPS (01584 890801). If you do catch the hoglet, try to get advice before releasing it, because sometimes it is more difficult to catch them a second time.

    If you need to keep a hog in over night, use a high sided box or pet carrier as hogs are very good at escaping. You can use newspaper as a base and torn up paper (or hay, if you happen to have some around) for bedding (enough for them to hide in) and supply food or water (although they may very likely spill that!). It is useful to have scales and potential night accommodation ready before you try to catch a hog, just in case, to cause them minimum stress. So you can literally just catch, weigh and put in the box (if necessary), or release.

    If there is one hoglet around, it is quite likely there is more than one, so keep an eye out. Small hoglets were arriving here, last year, until the end of November, so it’s a good idea to keep supplying food and water after you think all the hogs have disappeared.

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    Hi again

    Just noticed typing error too late to change it. It should, of course, say supply food and water.


    Thanks Nic
    I have a small bail of hay in the shed and a hedgehog house at the top of the garden that we don’t think has had anybody in – haven’t checked properly as we did not want to disturb any potential resident. I shall put some fresh hay out tomorrow. Little one is still visiting – the photo I took of it last Friday (10th) is on the site under my real name (Laurence Harrison) – he/she seems quite a bit larger now, maybe that is just me being positive 🙂 More of a juvenile than a hoglet, we think. Not too keen on the idea of weighing as we don’t want to spook it. Whilst it seems to be getting used to the noise of us being around (the larger one doesn’t seem to get spooked by us at all, but it has had 2 summers to get used to us) it is still quite skittish – though never seems to stray too far from the feed bowl if we do disturb. Yes, we are leaving freash water out too. Plenty of crunchy biscuit Ark hedgehog food, with a good sprinkling of mealworms on top to add to the fat content.

    edit – my profile picture is now the photo of the young one taken last Friday. Soooo cute 🙂

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    Hi logginthelog

    Photos can be a bit deceptive, but if that was taken a week ago when he first arrived, hopefully he’ll be a bit bigger by now. Weighing is the only way to be sure, but I can understand you not wanting to upset him and he doesn’t look to be too bad a size. They do grow quite quickly if they are getting plenty of food.

    The only thing I would suggest is to cut out the mealworms (do it gradually if they won’t eat the other food without them). I am guessing you have missed all the talk about mealworms on the forum recently. They don’t have good nutritional value for hogs. The following are a couple of links about the problems with them.
    You may find the beginning the second one distressing, but it is worth watching to better understand the problem.

    Good luck and I hope the hogs return safe and well next year after hibernation.


    Your certainly right about the lengths we go to for these lovely creatures.
    I checked cctv & no hedgehog sightings over the last week. The fox has been treating himself though. However last night I didn’t check my cctv before going outside only to find a mature hog eating. Unfortunately as I’d disturbed him he left & didn’t return. ☹️ A lesson learnt.
    Hope your juvenile makes through the winter Laurence as with all all the hogs!


    Am still getting visitors to my garden. Could be three but two for definite. Getting through two large bowls of food per night.



    Thanks again Nic. The little one does seem to have grown quite a bit this week. No more mealworms. We had become aware of an issue with too many mealworms (courtesy of Chris Evans breakfast show, odly) so had cut right back on the number were putting out – the larger hedgie definitely likes them – so were only putting a small sprinkling on the top of the dried Ark food. We’ll see how it goes without mealworms. The little one seems to hang around for a good few hours, so feeding well. Even turned up at 18:20 on Friday, before we’d had chance to fill the bowls 🙂 The last image of him/her on the night vision camera was 6 hours later.

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    Hi logginthelog

    It’s good to hear Chris Evans breakfast show has been spreading the word about the dangers of mealworms too.

    Perhaps the hoglet there could send a message to the ones here that it’s a good idea to turn up early in the night. Here they are turning up the other half of the night and one is sometimes seen on the cam after 06.00 in the morning. Not so convenient!

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