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Hibernation information

19th November 2021

At this time of year, most hedgehogs will have already started hibernation, or be on their way to doing so. Often we get asked whether food should still be put out, or whether hedgehogs need to be a certain weight to survive. So we have put together this short guide to answer all your questions.

Nesting hedgehog
Photo by Dani Beer

Food

Hedgehogs need to keep eating right up to hibernation, so we suggest feeding until they stop taking the food and then offer a few dry biscuits that don’t go off so quickly. Hedgehogs will wake from time to time during hibernation so if biscuits are taken you could resume feeding again and repeat the process.

You can find more information about feeding over winter here.

Weight

Hedgehogs can successfully hibernate at a minimum weight of 450g (1lb) or more, but are more likely to survive hibernation at 600g (22oz) and will be in better condition post hibernation. As long as they are over 450gms, look healthy and are out only at night then it is best to leave them in the wild and offer food and water. If you ever have any concern about their health, please do contact our partners at BHPS info@britishhedgehogs.org.uk or 01584 890801.

Please note that hedgehogs are best left alone and not handled unless they are in need of help. If you think a hedgehog needs to be weighed, please do so wearing thick gloves, as quickly and quietly as possible in the garden to minimise stress caused to the hedgehog. If it is not in need of help, please release it immediately.

A rescued hoglet
Photo by Tania Peak

Winter

By the end of November and into December, most hedgehogs should be in hibernation, unless it is a particularly mild winter. If you find a hedgehog which is under 450g at this point, please do rescue them ASAP. You can contact our partners at BHPS on 01584 890801 or info@britishhedgehogs.org.uk for further advice.

Hedgehog