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why haven't they hibernated yet?

Home Forums Champions’ chat why haven't they hibernated yet?

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    Still really busy with the hogs – constant visits (according to my trial camera) from 8.30pm to 6.30am

    and every night, they eat every single scrap of food – perhaps it’s just a couple of autumn juveniles desperately trying to fatten up – or have nothing else to do, as exploring the world will wait til spring.

    I hope my autumn sweeties don’t hibernate – as I’d prefer them to eat every night throughout winter, and become big enough to survive the winter.

    Is it normal for the juveniles not to hibernate for their first winter? or do they just hibernate later on in the winter?

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    Hi Hedgie Lover

    Sometimes some hogs hibernate later and sometimes some hogs don’t hibernate. I have found that it’s the hoglets who are around last. i.e. males disappear first, then females, then hoglets. (there may be some exceptions) The ones here who have decided not to hibernate have been hoglets – despite the fact that they were heavy enough. Last year, I had two hoglets here, fairly late, both about the same size and heavy enough – one went off to hibernate and the other didn’t. Most of the ones I hear about not hibernating are hoglets. I’m hoping someone will do some research on that to find out whether that’s fairly general or just those are the ones which get mentioned.

    The hoglet who didn’t hibernate here last year is still around at the moment. It will be interesting to see whether she hibernates this year. (Although, it isn’t possible to draw conclusions about hogs in general from what one hog does.) Also she, in particular, won’t be a good example to draw any conclusions from, due to her interrupted year – she had a life threatening strimmer injury and spent months in a Wildlife Hospital who saved her life. She is also not typical in that she has no eyeshine on video, so very likely has poor eyesight (she was like that before the strimmer injury, but that would not have contributed to it). I’m not sure whether her eyesight has any impact on hibernation, we don’t know enough about the triggers for hibernation. But her eyesight has not stopped her from being nocturnal, so it may be that she can see light and dark.


    We’re still releasing rescue hogs, 3 this week all first year, and would expect them to continue to explore and forage as long as the weather remains comparatively mild. I did a hedgehog care course at Vale Wildlife Hospital earlier this week and their view is that as long as the temperatures generally remain around 5 degrees or more at night the conditions are fine for hogs if they have somewhere dry to nest. Good luck with your hogs!

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    Hi 5sandown

    Yes, the advice now is:
    “hedgehogs can be successfully released back into the wild over winter. As long as they have reached a suitable weight as they are still able to hibernate naturally.”

    Extract from the above:
    “we recommend that wildlife rehabilitators can release rehabilitated hedgehogs during winter if the criteria used for release are similar to those used in this study. That is, hedgehogs should weigh over 600 g, have passed a veterinary health check, are soft-released in areas where the individuals were originally found or suburban areas without main roads and badgers, and during periods of mild weather (> 0 °C) over winter.”

    Also, importantly, from the first link above:
    “The British Hedgehogs Preservation Society (BHPS), along with other key organisations like the RPSCA, have produced guidance for rehabilitated hedgehogs. The report is based on published research by Dr Nigel Reeve and Dr Pat Morris. They advise that hedgehogs should, whenever possible, be released from the same site at which they were found.”


    Thanks Nic. This is important advice. We still have 4 hogs in hutches and want to release them as opposed to them overwintering with us. There is no doubt in my mind that hogs kept too long in captivity become prone to cage stress which can trigger another round of ailments. As long as sensible criteria are met it is definitely in the hogs interests to be released. One or two of mine are showing signs of wanting to hibernate so we’ll be making an early decision on them.


    Hi Sandown, how did the course go? I’ve decided not to go on one yet – but might do in the future.

    I know a few of us on here are probably thinking about doing it too, and would like to know how you got on.

    The hedgehog rescue centre, looking after Sweetpea and Calvin, also realised a good lot last week, but she said on her facebook ‘this is probably the last release of 2019, so felt a bit disheartened to find out that Sweetpea won’t be getting released yet (initially she said it might be a matter of just 3 weeks).

    I don’t want to pester her though. But I guess, she’s in the best care, and I trust them completely, but wonder if there;s been further complications with Sweetpea. Sweetpea was 380g a couple of weeks ago when I initally weighed her, and gave the rescue centre a poo sample, it came back as lungworm . Within the 4 days I looked after she put on 77g, and was going to get released back in the wild, but due to her sample, they ended up taking her in.

    I think I’ve just got the two (perhaps three) juveniles that are eating all the food now. I’ve not weighed them, but I think they are out of the woods.

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