Hoglets! Now what?!
17th September 2020 at 9:50 pm #27326
A few months ago I posted that I’d seen a hedgehog gathering straw and bits and bobs, and taking these under a wheelbarrow in my neighbour’s garden (access between gardens is easy for the hedgehogs.) Obviously building a nest. Yesterday I saw one hoglet at the bottom of my garden; today I saw another (or possibly the same one) near the house investigating the rabbit cage. I’m guessing that this one/these two are one/two of the newborns from the one living under the wheelbarrow.
My neighbour is probably going to want their wheelbarrow back at some point, so whilst I appreciate this is not an exact science…when would be a good time to move it? Is there the danger that the mother hedgehog will choose to hibernate in the same place that she gave birth? How many hoglets are likely to have been born at any given time?
And possibly crucially, is there anything I can do to make the garden good for hoglets? I’m pretty sure it’s already fine for adult hedgehogs, but anything in particular for the babies?
Thanks all.19th September 2020 at 11:06 am #27331
Congratulations, you lucky thing!
I’m not an expert, and I’m sure others will have more/better advice, but do what you’d normally do for any Heggie. Put out a dish of water, and freshen every day if poss. Put out food; cat food, or specialist heggie food. I put out dry food, although one of my neighbours put out ‘soggy cat biscuits’! Start now, so they get used to being able to find it, and hopefully it’ll help to fatten them up a bit.
Places to call home will encourage them to stay local, especially once they know there is a convenient source of food and water available. A log pile, grass cuttings and leaf piles, a compost pile – undisturbed, obviously! As you’ve seen, they’ll even utilise abandoned garden ‘stuff’. And of course you could splash out on a proper hedgehog house.
If the worst comes to the worst, you could take them to a local carer if they haven’t put on enough weight within a couple of months, depending on the weather. I believe minimum weight is about 450-500g, but of course you need to be in a position to weigh them. Ultimately, they are wild animals, so they will do what hedgehogs do naturally, and that’s good. They should be able to survive without too much human intervention. Just do what you can to make any hedgehog welcome. Good luck!19th September 2020 at 10:26 pm #27340
Hi pope pius ix
You don’t really need to do anything different for the hoglets than you do for the other hogs. Mother hog will take care of them when they are young. Once they start eating the food we offer, if you offer dry food, you might like to offer kitten biscuits, whilst they’re small, but any other food suitable for hogs should be o.k. for them. Other than that, make sure that any water containers aren’t too deep for them and that they can climb out of them and you probably are already careful about making sure there are no hog hazards in the garden – but bear in mind the smaller size.
The recommended weight is 450g to survive hibernation, but I don’t think you’ll need to worry about that. If they are out and about on their own already, they will have plenty of time to put on sufficient weight for hibernation, especially if you are supplementary feeding them. It’s very stressful for hogs to be kept in captivity and better for them if they can remain in the wild. Just checked and if these are the ones you were talking about in June they would be independant by now.
It’s seems unlikely that Mother hog will choose to hibernate under the barrow, but never say never. It’s more likely that the hoglets will still be out and about even after Mother has gone off to hibernate, but probably not in the nest they were born in. They or some of them may even move on to another area before hibernation.
The average family size is apparently 4 or 5, but there is quite a high mortality rate and apparently it’s more normal for a hog to manage to raise 2 or 3 young ones per season.
I would keep a careful eye on the wheelbarrow. They may already have moved on from there. Do you have a camera you could have aimed on the area to check? Alternatively you could try making a footprint tunnel. https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/footprint-tunnels/ I suspect that if a careful search is made, it will become obvious if they are still there, with fairly minimal disturbance.
Good luck. I hope they stay around – they are such endearing little things and good fun to watch.21st September 2020 at 2:19 am #27356
Just wondering about something. You say the minimum weight should be 450 grams to survive hibernation, but I’ve read that it should be at least 600 in multiple places, and possibly even more. Could you share the source of your information? (I’ve got two almost grown hoglets that I’m feeding, so I’m keeping an eye on their weights.)21st September 2020 at 8:02 am #27357
You will find this information on the BHPS website. However in easy to understand terms this should clarify.
No hog is guaranteed to come out of hibernation regardless of weight.
The guidance for hogs used to be 600g to stand a good chance of hibernation – and this still applies for hogs that have been in captivity and are being released in winter. The fat stored during captivity is often lost within the first weeks of release. Therefore the guidance is to make them heavier than necessary so that they stand a better chance of being at 450g to hibernate.
For wild hogs that we have not brought into captivity the guidance is 450g so this would apply to your hogs
The best thing everyone can do is put out food/water throughout the winter and let the hogs do their own thing.22nd September 2020 at 6:17 pm #27379
Hello everyone and thanks so much for all this advice.
Just as an update, we have definitely got three, possibly four, hoglets. The mother is fine as well. We are topping up a water bowl daily and putting down dry, meat-derived (rather than fish-derived) cat food each night until the Hog Food can be sourced.
We are also having a great time each evening, going out around 7:30-8:00, and seeing how many we can spot…
So thanks again all!
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