Strange goings on
26th November 2019 at 8:04 pm #20013
Havent had any hedgies in the garden for a few weeks so assumed they’re hibernating. I hI have an igloo which they havent shown any interest in.
This morning I went to check the garden out and noticed that the pile of hay I’d left in the corner had gone and the grass around the entrance of the igloo had been flattened down. Is it possible I’ve had a visitor, I’ve left food out tonight in case I have a repeat visit tonight.26th November 2019 at 10:21 pm #20014
It does sound as if you have had a visitor. It’s possible it is a hog, maybe a hoglet, who hasn’t hibernated yet. But hogs do emerge during hibernation and apparently sometimes make new hibernation nests, so that’s possible, too. It’s a good idea to leave food out, if there are hogs around. Water should be available all winter in case any hogs are out and about.27th November 2019 at 7:35 am #20024
I think the hay I left out last night has disappeared too, cant get up the garden at the moment it’s too wet .27th November 2019 at 8:09 am #20025
All hay gone and the food so looks like it may be a hog. I’ll put the camera out tonight to see if it takes the new hay I’ve put out.27th November 2019 at 9:21 am #20026
Oh dear, if it’s very wet around your area, it’s possible a hedgehog has been forced to move nests.28th November 2019 at 6:50 am #20046
Had the camera on last night and yes we have a decent sized hog from what I can tell feeding and pulling the hay I to the nest. Should I be collecting some leaves and drying them to add to the hay pile for it to make its nest, also the igloo is uncovered but in a very protected area of the garden under a tree should I get an old mat or folder tarpaulin or something to put over the igloo to help protect it from the weather. We are on the south coast near eastbourne so we rarely get really harsh winters but I want it to have as much protection as possible.28th November 2019 at 12:00 pm #20052
Good to hear it really is a hog!
If the hog has already selected the igloo to nest in, I wouldn’t put covers over the top. They are experts at nest building. If you imagine that they were building a nest naturally, for instance in the bottom of a hedge, it wouldn’t have any waterproofing etc. Hogs build their hibernation nests to be very well insulated and water proof and that will have taken into account the existing conditions. To the hog, the igloo is just a convenient structure within which to build a nest.
Yes, the hog may find it helpful if you put a pile of leaves nearby, as well, so that it can use them if it chooses. They prefer medium sized leaves. Normally that’s what they would use, mainly, to build their nests and because of the way they can layer them, they are useful for keeping the nest dry. You’ll probably find that they use far more material than you expect because of the way that they closely pack the nesting material.
The hog doesn’t need to be warm during hibernation. In fact it needs not to be too warm. They don’t actually sleep, as such, it is just that their bodily functions slow right down, including their body temperature lowering. So that if they become too warm, they might come out of hibernation.
Once the hog has hibernated, I would keep a look out to see whether it emerges, so that you can offer food again. I would leave a constant source of water available. Hogs will come out of hibernation for short periods and sometimes even change nests. I tend to leave my cameras working all winter, so that I can see if any hogs are up and about.
Good luck. Fingers crossed for a successful hibernation.28th November 2019 at 8:48 pm #20062
I’d already covered the igloo with thick polythene sheet, all staked down and put logs around the edges to cover the stakes, should I remove it again? Put out fresh food and water, more hay and a pile of leaves from the woods.28th November 2019 at 11:04 pm #20068
I’ve got a polythene sheet over my hedgehog home – I had to put one on as my hedgehog house is a wooden dome, so doesn’t have a felt roof like most of the wooden ones do, and I thought I would need to protect the wood a bit, then I put a big pile of brash on it, just to make it look more natural.
Personally, I would leave your nest now, as I don’t think they like their nests being disturbed, your hog might up and leave as they do that when they don’t feel secure.
And now that you’ve staked it down, and put logs on top, it will help to stop predators from lifting it.
But see what Nic says, he’s one of the Hedgehog Street’s experts!28th November 2019 at 11:09 pm #20069
my home is a bit like this:
as it’s a wooden dome, with the entrance in the middle, but mine has got a longer tunnel.
I bought mine when I didn’t really know much about hedgehogs, but next one will have a sloping roof which is waterproof, and the tunnel inside rather than outside.
But even with the wooden square, I’m going to put brash on top – but don’t have to put a sheet on it.28th November 2019 at 11:49 pm #20070
If you have already done that, I would leave it now. I wouldn’t add anything once a hog has finished building a nest and moved in. But it would probably cause more upheaval to move it than to leave it now. Normally, I would prefer to use natural materials, i.e. cover with brushwood, etc. or place the house under a bush, so that everything can ‘breathe’. I am assuming there is sufficient ventilation.
Just be aware that sometimes hogs build nests and don’t use them. I had one here one year. The hog built a lovely nest but eventually decided not to hibernate and only used it for over-day stays and then not every day, so obviously had another nest elsewhere.29th November 2019 at 7:31 am #20076
Camera shows hoggie was adding to the nest last night, it appears to be using it as the first film showed it emerging and the last one retiring back into the igloo. I’ll just put food and water down for a while now, take it once the food stops disappearing I can stop feeding otherwise itll just go to waste.
The only ventilation is through the door, it wouldn’t take two minutes to take the polythene off if you think it would be better without.
If hoggie doesn’t stay that’s fine I just like to know I’ve done my bit to help for as long as the hog needs me to.29th November 2019 at 8:20 am #20079
I’m gonna always put food down, maybe when there is clearly no hedgies eating – I’ll probably put a bit less, but sometimes, (it says on the back of my spikes bag), that they can come out in milder weather looking for a snack and then go back into hibernation.
Spikes hedgehog food recommends leaving a little bit out during the winter just in case.
You wouldn’t have to refresh it every day, as the cold will keep it a bit fresher.29th November 2019 at 6:25 pm #20084
The most important thing is to make sure there is water available all winter.
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