Our hedgehogs haven't been for 5 nights running….
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- This topic has 41 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 2 months, 3 weeks ago by Nic.
9th October 2018 at 5:04 am #12354
In previous years, mine have been coming on & off through to January & even not hibernated at all, so I never stop putting food out. Occasionally one will wake up for a snack aswell!!9th October 2018 at 8:53 am #12356
It’s certainly been a very strange year for the hogs, but then again it’s been a very strange year weather wise. Just when things were beginning to warm up and the hogs started to emerge from hibernation they suddenly found themselves knee deep in snow and then we had the prolonged extreme Mediterranean temperatures throughout the summer, there’s no wonder they don’t know whether they are coming or going…I don’t think any of us do for that matter. In previous years you could set your watch by some of them, but this year most of them have vanished, a couple have returned months later, but then just as quickly vanished again. We just have to hope that they reappear next spring and things return to ‘normal’ …whatever ‘normal’ for a hedgehog is!!! 🙂9th October 2018 at 10:32 am #12360
I think it is a very good idea to keep leaving, at least some, food out all winter if you don’t have a rat problem. Your hog visitors may be hibernating already, despite the fluctuating temperatures. It may even be day length which triggers hibernation in some. I don’t think anyone knows the precise triggers yet. And don’t expect a hog not to hibernate because it didn’t last year – I sometimes think they just like to keep us guessing! Always a worrying time for hog lovers, but as Penny says, we just have to hope they come back safe and well in the Spring.10th October 2018 at 12:56 pm #12383
Similar observations from three of us in my road that feed and see hogs pretty much every night. For several nights now none of us have seen any evidence of activity, including on our camera traps.
Our hogs were all pretty large so may have been well fed males who have decided to hibernate early. We continue to wait and watch.11th October 2018 at 1:00 am #12391
Just loved your post Williamc, I shall await my newly radicalized hedgehogs return !! It is helpful to know others have experienced the vanishing act…though I remain anxious at the sight of the untouched food bowls.
Thanks folks!11th October 2018 at 1:07 am #12392
Thanks Nic, Yes the unpredictable world of hedgehogs! Thank you, I won’t give up hope… not just yet any way. No rats at present thankfully. Any other thoughts or advice do let me know. Thank you.11th October 2018 at 10:29 am #12395
Down in Kent I’ve two hedgehog houses that I can usually rely upon hedgehogs coming and going during the night (a straw across the entrance tells me).
A third house sometimes the straw is triggered, sometimes not.
For the last 3/4 nights the straws on all three have remained firmly in place.
Not just that but I’m not needing to put out so much food in the feeding stations now, though still getting visitors and the trail-cam is still recording some hogs moving around at night.
(I was expecting that the sudden warm spell would have things moving again)
Of course I can’t be certain, but I suspect I have sleepers in the three houses now.
Other places in the garden that have straws guarding sleeping ‘opportunities’ are being triggered. ie under the wood pile etc.
Which has me wondering about multi-occupation of houses.
If a house already contains a hibernating hedgehog, would another snuggle in? (I once discovered 3 hogs asleep in a leaf filled sack that had been beneath the hedge all winter).
Or do they detect a resident and not bother going in? (leaving my straws untriggered as seems to be the case now)?
(Perhaps loud snoring puts them off).
Or do (only) relatives sleep together?
Anyway the foxes appreciate the extra rations that the hedgehogs are leaving, which goes out on their plate the following night 🙂11th October 2018 at 11:10 am #12398
Some insights into hog behaviour when hibernating and getting ready to hibernate are rather interesting – and I hadn’t appreciated the complexities of this until working with a rescue contact over the last few years and taking them in myself.
Hogs don’t typically decide one day that its hibernation day for them and disappear into their prepared hibernaculum. they spend a significant amount of time deciding whether or not to hibernate and where to hibernate and then this typically occurs in on and off stages for what can be weeks. so they will disappear for longer and longer time periods until a more permanent hibernation period starts. They often come out of hibernation, even during the long stint, and look for food or even a new hibernaculum sometimes.
all of this period of what appears to be unrest can be very confusing for us simple humans who in turn don’t know what is happening and whether to provide food or not during this time. I would recommend that food and water is left out all year long and monitored / refreshed regularly.
Hogs do often share hibernaculums – it just depends on their temperament and preferences etc- of which there are many varieties and types! they are described as being a solitary creature, which they are, but that doesn’t make them all unsociable – but some are for sure!
Some hogs don’t hibernate – or decide not to for whatever reasons- and the youngsters are less likely to try and hibernate when still tiny, they shows signs of confusion – so will continue to try and survive through the winter – so food and water supply could be a life save for any of them through winter too!
we certainly don’t know enough about hibernation habits and practices of the hog, and I think its certainly something that if we did, would enable us to support them more confidently through this period.
I always think of the hogs at Christmas and New Year time – I think they tend to get forgotten about with most people thinking they are tucked up warm and snuggly somewhere.
Lucky you anyway – and lucky hogs having you to keep an eye on them! If only they knew………11th October 2018 at 11:38 am #12400
Thanks Jan-Marie 🙂
At some point I’ll be aiming to wean the remaining active hogs onto dried food so that I can leave it out come the really cold weather, knowing there is always some food out there for hungry hogs that are sleepless. 🙂11th October 2018 at 1:41 pm #12408
If you are interested in finding out more about wild hedgehogs hibernating, as opposed to those in captivity, I recommend Pat Morris’ book ‘Hedgehogs’. There is a wealth of really interesting information about hogs. One thing is that many hedgehogs ‘wake up’ during hibernation time and sometimes actually build new hibernation nests, even though some may have built more than one nest in the first place.
Hedgehogs in captivity don’t always behave in the same way. In the wild it is more likely that hogs nesting together are youngsters and likewise, I have seen a youngster sneaking into a nest box where an adult hog was already sleeping. On that occasion it was for a short stay, though. There are, though, exceptions to every rule and some hogs may choose to demonstrate their individuality.
If nothing else, leaving water available all day, every day, all year, is very important in case any hogs come along.14th October 2018 at 12:40 pm #12462
Ive had 2 rather large hogs in my garden for months i feed them at seperate ends of the garden. But i havent seen them for a few weeks however ive had two smaller hogs appear one smaller than the other so i’m thinking its an early year hoglet. My hogs normally feed between 9.30-10.30pm but for the last few mornings about 6.30 ive seen a hog feeding from bowls that have food left in them. Is this normal??
Im about to put a hog house in my garden for winter with lots of shredded paper (hope this is ok or is straw better???) im not sure they will use it but heres hoping 😍14th October 2018 at 7:33 pm #12466
It sounds very likely that they are hoglets, possibly of different litters, hence their size. However, their growth rate can sometimes be a bit variable so, depending how different the size is, it’s possible they are siblings.
I wouldn’t be worried about 6.30 in the morning at this time of year. Sometimes my last hoglet visitor is only disappearing about that time, and it isn’t very light then (according to my camera!).
Re. The hog box. Personally, I wouldn’t use shredded paper, because if water gets in that tends to retain the damp. So straw or hay would be better. Hogs are often very fussy about what they put in their nests, so I would put a small amount of stuff in, just to give them the idea, but leave loads of leaves, long grasses, moss, (and hay/straw if you wish) nearby so that they can select what they like. Hogs are experts at building nests and have been doing it for millions of years without our help, so we could never make one as well as they do.
Even the hoglets seem to miraculously know exactly what to do. I had the privilege of seeing a young hoglet here last year (on video) building a nest from scratch in my feedbox. Fascinating to watch. Endless mouthfuls of vegetation went in. (mostly dried vegetation, but some green stuff was ‘picked’ as well). They prefer medium sized leaves (here there was a weigela bush nearby so leaves from that were used quite a bit). Much later when the hoglet was no longer using it, I was able to get a good look at the construction. Leaves and long grasses were intricately woven together in the most amazing way. There was a snug space in the centre, just big enough for a hog to curl up in. It must have been really well insulated and that, with a hibernation nest, is important. As it turned out, that particular hog decided not to hibernate, but made good use of his nest when he came for food and sometimes spent the day there.
Good luck. I hope a hog uses your box, but if not this year, maybe next.16th October 2018 at 5:36 pm #12497
We had 2 on back garden a o the front garden, looked at ctv and not seen them since 1st of October but seen a rat once and a few mice,16th October 2018 at 9:28 pm #12504
They may have gone to hibernate already. Fingers crossed they turn up safe and well again in the Spring.19th October 2018 at 6:56 pm #12628
The feeding stations have not been visited here (in Kent) for the last three nights running, and all straws placed across house entrances etc remain untriggered.
Uneaten wet food has been put out the following night for the foxes but now I’m moving over to leaving out dried food only in the feeding-stations, they are going to have to find their own supper (I’ve also a few tins of Tesco’s cat-food that neither hedgehogs or our cats seem to like, for feeding to the foxes when it gets really cold).
I’m strangely sad that my spikies have disappeared for a while, even though I’m still kept busy cleaning and feeding the bird-feeders and now beginning to see winter feeders returning to the garden (the male chaffinches are back 🙂 ).
I’m also going to have to start digging up the dahlia tubers and gladioli bulbs soon as the nights draw in and frosts threaten to return.
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