Is anyone seeing fewer heggies for the time of year?
15th September 2022 at 8:29 pm #39811
I realise that it’s been an exceptionally hot and dry summer this year, but is anyone seeing less hedgehog activity for the time of year? I have two cameras in my garden, one focussed on the feeding station on the patio, the other one on the hedgehog house. Normally, I would expect to see something getting the house ready for winter, but nothing so far.
We haven’t seen heggies coming to the feeding station at all for about a week, ever since the dry period ended, and the showers began. It has only just started to cool down but, since hedgehogs are generally opportunists, I would at least expect to see the odd visit. I will say, however, that the heggies I saw over the summer didn’t look desperate for water, and I know that lots of people locally put out food and water. For the last three years or so, we’ve considered our garden hedgehog-central, so I’ll admit I’m worried!
Cheers, Lily.16th September 2022 at 6:27 pm #39828
Hi Lilly of the Valley
The number of hogs visiting can depend a bit on whether they are males or females visiting – and that can change from year to year. Some of the males might even be thinking of hibernating now – they tend to hibernate earlier than the females. But also if others in the area are putting out more food and water, any males around may just be visiting other parts of their ranges. They may have decided to hibernate elsewhere. But also since we’ve had a bit of rain, I’ve noticed more worms being caught.
Don’t worry too much. Hopefully they’ll be back next year. But keep looking out for them. Sometimes hoglets appear later in the year, as if from nowhere! But they will probably welcome food and water.
Good luck.25th September 2022 at 8:36 am #39966
Hi, I was gifted a garden cam two weeks ago and to my excitement finally got to see footage of a hedgehog . It was very active over several nights and then 4 nights ago – nothing. The straw strand across the hedgehog house has not been disturbed and the food untouched. Surely it is far too soon (and too warm still) to be hibernating. Hedge is definitely in the house (I peeked and it seemed to flinch slightly) but I”m worried it may be unwell. Should I leave alone now or disturb it and take to a vet or Tiggywinkles. I guess I”m asking if the hedgehog hunkering down this early is unusual?
D25th September 2022 at 7:23 pm #39970
Great to hear about the camera – endless entertainment!
Re. the hog in the hog house, the hog could already be hibernating. Males hibernate earlier than the females and that can be in September. The ‘mechanism’ of hibernation is not fully understood, but it is not solely related to temperature. It may have more to do with food availability, but it seems as if that is not the only thing as males will hibernate when there is still food around. Males usually then come out of hibernation earlier – maybe in early March, when it can still be quite cold. But it gives them an opportunity to feed up before the females return, when a lot of energy is taken up tearing around to find females, circling them, etc.
Some hogs, more often youngsters I suspect, decide not to hibernate at all and don’t seem to mind the cold as long as they have access to food and water.
That doesn’t help much with the hog in your hog house, but normally when hibernating, the hog would have taken a fairly substantial amount of ‘nesting’ material into the house to help insulate it through hibernation. So that might give you an idea of whether it is hibernating.
Hibernation is always a worrying time for hog lovers. It is the most dangerous ‘natural’ time for hogs and not all will survive. They need to have laid down the necessary amounts of two different special types of fat – one to keep them ticking over during hibernation and the other to enable them to arouse themselves from hibernation and get going again. So that if they are aroused from hibernation more times than that type of fat allows for, they may not be able to ‘wake’ themselves up at the end of hibernation. (hogs will come out of hibernation for periods during the main hibernation time and apparently sometimes even make a new nest – that will have been taken into account when laying down that special type of fat).
If you are worried you could always ring one of those organisations you mentioned and take their advice. You will be able to give them a fuller explanation and they can ask appropriate questions, etc.
Good luck. Hope all goes well.26th September 2022 at 6:28 pm #39999
Hi Nic, What a brilliantly informative post. It’s a steep learning curve with so many possibles. I was so enjoying checking my camera every morning and seeing the images of my hog pottering about in the night. It has been worrying since it (she – I found out later) suddenly stopped leaving the hedgehog house knowing that she hadn’t had any food or water in several days. I checked again this morning, and there was still movement so she was still with us. Anyway to cut a long story short, after contacting Tiggywinkles for advice
and they suggested/recommended I take her to them asap, it transpires she is suffering with a bad case of mange. Who would have thought? Having gone through a whole host of possibility’s prior to the diagnosis I have learned a lot more about these humble little creatures and the many things they are vulnerable to. Even more reason to look out for them. So the little hog is now in the care of Tiggywinkles and I will get weekly updates on her progress until she is released. My garden is empty now which is sad, but hopefully after I have given the hedgehog house a good clean and debug I may still get a new hedgehog check my garden out 🤞
I do hope so.26th September 2022 at 9:24 pm #40000
That’s great that the hog is in good care. It’s always worth ringing rescues if you are ever worried about a hog. They can find out much more detail from you than is possible on the Forum.
The good news is that if there is one hog around, there are usually more of them, so you could get a new tenant any time. But did you ask about the possibility of having that hog back once it has recovered. It’s recommended that whenever possible, hedgehogs be released from the same site at which they were found. More information: https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/guidance-on-releasing-rehabilitated-hedgehogs/
I hope the hog does well and that you get some more hogs visiting too. Good luck.
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