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Weather Watchers

Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Weather Watchers

Viewing 14 posts - 16 through 29 (of 29 total)
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  • #7852

    Nic

    Hi Paul

    Really pleased to hear that you are looking out for the hogs there in Sweden too.

    Re. your questions

    The hedgehog could have started hibernation already, although, you say that it is a juvenile and I find, here, that hoglets often hibernate a bit later. Here, the males tend to go off for hibernation first (and most of my male hedgehog visitors here have already disappeared) followed by the females and then the hoglets. But, it depends how much weight it has been able to put on. If it was plenty big enough it may have decided it was time. I have read that the hedgehogs on mainland Europe tend to be larger than the ones here in the UK, so I’m not sure how that affects hibernation, or even if it applies to Sweden as well. Perhaps you could let us know. Here, the recommended minimum weight required to survive hibernation is 450g.

    Hedgehogs do, apparently, sometimes come out of hibernation during the winter and even move nests. It is best not to disturb them, as they may use up some of the energy they need to survive through hibernation and bring themselves out of their hibernating state in the Spring, so you are wise when you say you will leave the hog be until the Spring.

    I would be inclined to keep putting out a bit of food and water for a while in case he is not properly hibernating yet and also if you see him out during the winter.

    Hibernation is always a bit of a worrying time as it is a dangerous time for the hedgehogs and sadly, some won’t survive. Sounds like the little hog there has chosen a good nest and hopefully given himself a good chance. Here, if the hogs start hibernating in September, they may well be up and about by March, so not long, but not sure how the weather, etc. compares with there. Good luck. Hope the little chap does ok.

    #7855

    Hi Nic,
    You could be right about the hedgies already going into hibernation. Recently the sightings here are getting less. The beginning of the month we had four or more regularly attending the feeding station. The last two nights we have seen one or two at the most. The visits are getting later with the first sighting at 0925 hours last night and finished by 0235 hours. So not only are there less of them around they are also not out all night. The duration between stops at the feeding station from the one visitor we had last night were longer. A total of only seven videos last night. The weather though was pretty wet last night, so we will see if we get more if its’ a dry night. The foliage of the hedgerow has decreased a lot and the farmer will be here soon to flail the hedge for winter. I will then move the hedgehog house back deeper into the hedge and put wood insulation around it. With the leaves now falling from the trees I shall collect some and dry them out. Mosses and other things like paper will go inside the house to provide nesting material. The inside of the house already has foam insulation to the roof and more foam insulation to the outside on the walls, floor and ceiling. The outside feeders will be moved closer to the doorway, so if the hedgie does awake in need of food it will be near. We shall check on the food and water daily and replenish it if necessary. This will save me looking into the house through the roof to see if the hedgie is ok, and waking it up. I have actually got a new camera which will fit into the corner of the hedgie house. This will give us access to the animal without disturbing it. Cannot wait to see if the house will be used.

    #7859

    Hi Everyone,
    Well it has finally happened. Not a visit from any hedgies last night. The first time in ages that we have not had any. I know the weather was wet last night but it was reasonably warm. Maybe they are hibernating earlier than normal. My mother used to look for signs of a hard winter. Not that we get many like we did in the days gone bye. The leaves here are falling fast and I must look and see how the bushes are for berries. Mum used to specifically look at the bushes. The more the bush was laden down with berries the harder the winter was going to be. Certainly all the acorns have fallen off the oak tree, so squirrel will be ok. So it looks as though we will continue to put the feeders out and hope that any hedgies that could be still around will have enough food. One thought though is, is if they bed down early for hibernation does that mean they may come out of it earlier? I know if I go to bed early I wake up earlier. I assume the hedgies do not have a fixed period of hibernation e.g. 4 months. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!!!!!

    #7861

    Nic

    Hi PaulM

    Further to my previous post, I have recently come across a couple of quotes which you might find interesting.

    In his book ‘Hedgehogs’, Pat Morris says:
    ‘In the warmer climate of New Zealand, hibernation is necessary for only a brief few weeks in midwinter, whereas in Scandinavia the winters are longer and so hibernation is prolonged.’
    also re. Weights needed for hibernation:
    ‘The study in Denmark … suggested that about 510 grams is the minimum weight needed for survival, but Danish winters may last a bit longer than British ones.’

    I’m not sure how the weather in Denmark compares with that in Sweden, but it may give you a better idea.

    #7865

    Nic

    Hi James

    I would be inclined to leave a supply of extra bedding outside the box, so a hog could take it in if it chose to. Hedgehogs are much better at making hibernation nests than us. You will have read in the ‘Hedgehogs’ book how elaborate the hibernation nests are and so will have realised how easy it would be for one to collapse even if the lid of a hog house was opened. If you try to put more bedding in you may disturb the ‘foundations’.

    I would also be inclined to leave food in the normal place (even if you do decide to leave some nearer to the hog house as well) and not make any assumptions about where the hog/hogs is/are. You will also have seen from the Hedgehogs book that hogs sometimes move nests during the winter. There may be other hogs which expect to find food where it normally is and waste energy trying to get there. Also, consider the predator angle. Would food nearby attract predators to the inactive hedgehog? Or other, unwanted, visitors. Consider the pros and cons before you make your decision.

    Not sure about the camera – is it completely noiseless? And does it give out no heat and could not be a fire risk. Temperature is important for hibernation, if the hogs warm up they could come out of hibernation at the wrong time. From the ‘Hedgehogs’ book by Pat Morris:
    “Once the hedgehog has become inactive and started to hibernate, its body temperature needs to be as low as possible (a minimum of 1 degree C) to slow its metabolism and the rate at which energy (stored as fat) is used up. This is why ‘keeping hedgehogs warm’ over winter is not a good idea.”

    If you are sure about these things, it may be ok, but whether you would be able to see anything, in a proper hibernaculum is another matter. It may well be blocked by ‘bedding’. You might be better off having a camera outside, to see if the hog comes out.

    The night of the 27th which you referred to was a funny night here as well. The hogs who did turn up seemed very jumpy and only stayed for a series of short stretches at a time – I put it down to the wet and windy weather. They were back last night, but I haven’t seen any mature males since mid-September and most since the beginning of September. Last year was similar. The first male returned early March and the first female not until mid April. Coming out of hibernation is not an exact science, though, as neither is going into hibernation, but I think the males are usually about earlier in the year than the females.

    Don’t rely on, at least some of the hogs, not coming back tonight though.

    #7876

    Hi Nic,
    They made no attempt to visit us last night. Could be that they are feeling well fed and ready for hibernation. Will carry on as normal with the feed etc and await their next appearance. It was dry and reasonably warm last night so ideal conditions for the hedgies to feed. Feeling quite disappointed that our friends have disappeared so early!! :+]. No more morning videos!!;+]

    #7886

    Hi Everyone,
    Looks like I will make this my last report with no sightings again last night.
    The weather was wet but warmish and nothing was touched. Looks like they have decided that it is hibernation time. All that was on the videos were magpies devouring the food. Shame, will sign off for now.

    #7899

    Hi again everyone,
    Definitely hibernation time. Not a hedgie spotted anywhere since my last report. That leads me to the conclusion that, we have done our job well, and provided the hedgies here with a Michelin Starred Restaurant during the Summer. Sleep well my lovelies. Night night all. :+]

    #8068

    I am beginning to wonder if hogs can actually predict the weather. A few weeks ago they went into a feeding frenzy and were munching their way through 5 dishes of food a night. Since then they have all gradually disappeared with the last straggler finally wandering off to the land of nod a couple of nights ago. This is much earlier than the past couple of years when they were still visiting in November and December. I am also hearing the same story from other keen hog watchers. I just ‘googled’ the winter weather forecast for 2017-2018 and sure enough they are predicting ‘snowmaggedon’ starting next month, with temperatures set to plummet and the worst winter since 2010-2011 when the country was brought to a standstill.

    It will be interesting to see if the hogs and the forecasters predictions are right… better stock up on some winter woollies!

    Oh yes, and I will still be leaving food out throughout the winter, as the juveniles often don’t start showing up until November and December.

    #8069

    Nic

    Hi Penny

    I was wondering where you had got to. I was trying to find your last year’s poster for bonfire night, so far to no avail – probably lost in the depths of the computer somewhere. Any chance of a link again? I liked that one best out of all the posters I have seen on the subject.

    Re. the weather. There is a certain ‘newspaper’ which seems to forecast snowmaggedon every year and any other weather disaster they can think of at any other time of the year. Whether they materialise or not is another matter. Not sure how accurate they can be that far ahead.

    Re. the hoglets. This time last year there were about 6 youngish ones around and some more appeared later, but I have only seen the three who appeared in July this year. At least two of them (now small adult size) are still visiting as well as Digger. I keep hoping she will hibernate before the clocks change, but slightly worried that she might be looking a bit less portly than she did. I hope she hasn’t had hoglets this late.

    #8070

    Hi Nic,

    Here’s the link to the poster… https://flic.kr/p/MFSoJB

    I need to start putting a few up, the local school has had a new headmaster and they have now decided that they are going to have a fireworks display, the first one that I can ever remember. There is no mention of a bonfire, so I am hoping to goodness that there isn’t one.

    Would that certain ‘newspaper’ be the Express by any chance, that’s where I got the info from? Although there are lots of berries on the bushes, so James’s mother might be right.

    We also had something like six juveniles around last year and just like you some more appeared later on. This year there has only been Nagini and her two siblings up to now, so that’s a bit of a worry, if young Tippy Toe hadn’t made it through last winter we wouldn’t have had any at all! I was convinced that Brenda had gone off to have hoglets, but so far there have been no sightings. Poor old Simba hasn’t been seen since July after he was involved in some pretty nasty fights, I do miss him, he was a real character.

    I hope Digger is ok, it will be interesting to see if she does turn up with some hoglets. 🙂

    #8075

    Nic

    Hi Penny

    Thanks for the link. Typical – no sooner did I download another copy than I found the old one! I hope they don’t have a bonfire at the school too, or if they do that they, at least, build it on the day and check carefully for hogs – and amphibians.

    The berry thing is old country folklore, but the slightly more boring, scientific reason, for lots of berries is to do with the weather conditions the Spring before. And yes, you were right. How did I guess?! On the balance of probabilities they’ll get it right one day!

    Sorry about poor old Simba. We really do set ourselves up for sadness. I sometimes wonder whether to try not to recognise the hogs, but, with some of them, you just can’t help it. I had pretty much resigned myself to Digger not coming back this year, as she has been around for so long, so it was such a treat to see her again. Now, she is getting more than her fair share of appearances on saved video clips, in case this is her last year.

    #8107

    Hi Nic,

    Just when you think that they’ve all toddled off to bed, another one shows up. An unknown female turned up two nights ago; she didn’t eat very much, but was constantly doing the chin rubbing on the floor thing. I know that there was some discussion on the old forum about this and I don’t think that there were any logical explanations. I used to think that it was just the males that did it, but I have now seen several females doing the same thing. Could it be a female leaving her scent for her hoglets to follow…any ideas?

    #8113

    Nic

    Hi Penny

    That’s interesting, a new female turning up this late. Maybe her regular feeder has stopped feeding?

    I used to think that the chin rubbing thing was the males, but here it usually looks like a whole body rubbing including the chin. Initially, it seemed to be something they did when the females were about and they were, perhaps, testosterone fuelled, but I have seen Digger doing something similar, but only a couple of times. With her it does look more like just a chin rub.

    I would have thought the hoglets would be able to follow Mum’s scent without that, but maybe not. Also hogs don’t have territories, as such, so why would they need to scent mark(?) although maybe they do a bit so the males can find the females, etc. What we need is someone who has studied hedgehog anatomy to find out whether there are actually scent glands in the chin area. I have read a suggestion that self anointing might involve some sort of pheromone to ‘advertise’ their presence, so maybe there is some connection. There is just so much about hogs which we don’t really have the answers to.

    Digger was still here last night, but no hoglets (old or young). She was behaving differently to normal so I wonder whether she is about to hibernate.

Viewing 14 posts - 16 through 29 (of 29 total)

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