How to make a happy hog home
10th September 2020 at 11:45 am #27128
Greetings Hog Fans!
A hedgehog has taken up residence inside a large plant pot in my back yard. See photo below, tin of macaroni for scale..
Is there any way I can improve its house, particularly with regards to making it warmer for the winter etc.10th September 2020 at 3:06 pm #27129
at this time of year, hogs might only be using homes for a few nights – they might be testing different nests out to test if they are suitable for winter nests – so, you could, wait until it’s definitely vacant again, and then replace it with a wooden house – so if the hog returns, it will have a nice winter home to go to.
The wooden houses you can purchase – the best ones have a couple of slats on the bottom so it’s slightly raised off the ground, and have a tunnel to keep them safe from predators. I had two wooden houses last year, one was permanently used throughout winter, and the second one was used as a temporary sleep over one night thing.
I have got 3 wooden houses for this winter, but don’t expect them all to be used, I’ll be lucky if just one of them gets used.
When I went to clean the 2 houses out in spring, both had kept nice and dry- and the hogs don’t seem to like soiling in their homes, so they were clean – but I gave them a wash with hot water (to kill any parasites that I couldn’t see) and gave them both fresh bedding.
But they haven’t used them much since I cleaned them, only for temporary sleep overs, but that’s normal for this time of year.
Now they might start looking for their winter nests.10th September 2020 at 3:47 pm #27131
I think you need to trust in the wisdom of hedgehogs. You can’t move the hog and if you start adding things it might not be to the hog’s liking. When they build their hibernating nests they are very elaborate. They are designed for being outside, as they would have been before we started providing them with hog houses. They layer the leaves and use grasses to help weaving it all together, but the final construction is pretty waterproof and can be 50 centimetres in diameter. The collection of vegetation in your photo doesn’t look to me like a serious nest – it may be a bit of practice or a temporary nest. It’s a mistake to think that hedgehogs need to be kept warm in the winter. They need their temperature to drop to a certain level to slow their metabolism and they are the experts at knowing how much insulation they need in their nest to achieve that.
As Hedgielover suggests, if you get a hog house and place it somewhere in the area, the hog might decide to make a nest in that. You might like to put a small amount of material (maybe about a handful) i.e. medium sized dried leaves, to give the hog the idea and leave a pile nearby so that the hog can select what it chooses. It might even make use of the pile of vegetation in your photo. But it might start with new materials. So piles of dry leaves are good and also piles of long ornamental grasses.
So I would say don’t interfere with what a hog has already done, but maybe provide a hog house nearby – which, in effect, is a structure within which they can make a nest.
It’s still fairly early for hibernation to start, but might not be long now, especially for the males who tend to hibernate earlier than the females – no hoglet raising duties to worry about!
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