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Wet, Dirty Hedgehog House? ๐Ÿ 

Home Forums Champions’ chat Wet, Dirty Hedgehog House? ๐Ÿ 

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    TLDR: Do hogs move if their nest get wet & dirty? Will they only hibernate for two months? Does their home need to be waterproof?

    I know from my wildlife camera that I have a regular visitor or two. My hedgehog house is made of bricks I piled together with a wider slab on the top and bottom, so itโ€™s not fully waterproof.

    In Oct / Nov they started to gather hay and leaves and filled the house, slept in it and came out of it each night to eat cat food Iโ€™d put out. By mid-Dec they stopped appearing so I assumed they had gone into hibernation. Started seeing them again at the start of this month, so starting feeding them occasionally again.

    Went to check on things this evening, and noticed that the floor and hay at the entrance was wet and muddy, so I thought Iโ€™d check things were okay inside. Took the lid slab off, and noticed that the hay was curled into a neat ball like they had been in there previously, but it was empty, dirty, wet and slightly mouldy in parts (almost like they brought food inside, ate some and then spat it out) so I cleared and cleaned it and re-laid some fresh hay and food for them.

    Just wondered if this was normal? Should I have put a waterproof sheet over it? Would they have only hibernated for two months?

    Avatar photo

    Hi cececat

    A few possibilities.

    Hogs will sometimes make more than one hibernating nest, so may not have hibernated in that one at all. Hogs are also known to change nests during hibernation. But it’s possible it could also have decided to come out of hibernation early if there is food around.

    The way you describe it, “almost like they brought food inside, ate some and then spat it out”, sounds as if a rat may have been using the nest. A rat used an old nest here once and it looked a bit like that. I wouldn’t expect hogs to take food into a hibernating nest, although some hogs sometimes build nests in their feeding boxes.

    A completely natural hibernaculum would be outside anyway with maybe only hedge for cover, but if it is well built (and especially if made with leaves which can be overlapped like tiles) it should be pretty waterproof. Medium sized leaves seem to be hogs’ natural choice of nesting material, although some long grasses are also useful to weave the structure together.

    If the space within the brick structure is quite small that could be a limiting factor as to how waterproof a hog could have made the natural part of its nest. The drawback with plastic is that it can cause condensation and make the nest damp that way, so I tend to avoid it.

    There probably isn’t much ‘wild’ food around at the moment, so sounds like a good idea to offer them food (and water) if they are out and about again.

    Happy hog watching!



    I need to check the nesting boxes and put in fresh hay after the hibernation.
    The floor is insulated and the brick sides are heaped up with earth.
    I will attempt to do this at night hoping the hogs are out foraging.
    If one is still in there will it go somewhere else if I just lift the slab roof off and look?
    Can I pick the hog up with the nest and put it in a cardboard box while I replace the nesting material?

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    Hi DCL

    It isn’t the best idea to clean out a nest whilst a hog is in residence – even if it has popped out for the night to get some food. If you don’t have a camera you might be able to work out if anyone is in residence by placing some scrunched up paper, a twig, or similar in the doorway and see if it’s moved. I would do any cleaning out during the day, then if you find someone there, you can quietly replace the lid and hope the hog hasn’t been disturbed.

    Good luck. I hope all goes well.

    Some tips re. cleaning out hog boxes:

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