Hedgehogs & Garden Wildlife is really important to us at Staglers, we live in the country and John’s passion, after dogs, is conservation and wildlife. When we received a request from Ark Wildlife who asked if they could link to a blog we had, we felt you deserved to read part of it here. Pop to their site to read so much more.
Owners Worry Their Dogs Can Worry Hedgehogs
Question: “I have discovered some hedgehogs under my summerhouse. I am concerned as my dog
When do Hedgehogs Hibernate & Have Babies: A Timeline
Hedgehogs are a native of the UK and our only mammal covered in spines. They can be found in gardens across most parts of the country but have sadly suffered from a declining population for many years. They are however, easy to help and knowing a little more about hedgehogs and their lifestyle makes it easy to create a hedgehog friendly garden.
When do hedgehogs hibernate?
All hedgehogs are different, and some may choose not to hibernate at all. However, most hedgehogs tend to hibernate between November and mid-March, depending on the severity of the winter. Some may start hibernating earlier or continue later into the spring.
When hedgehogs are preparing to hibernate, it’s crucial that they can find enough fat reserves to survive through the winter. Their natural food sources may be scarce at this time of year, especially in urban areas, so a specialist hedgehog food or dried calcium worms can supplement their diet effectively and increase the chances of a healthy hibernation.
Where do hedgehogs hibernate?
During winter hibernation, a hedgehog will generally sleep in a nest that they have built especially in thick undergrowth or under piles of leaves. They will sleep in these spots during the day at any time of year, and will also sleep in unlit bonfires so it is crucial that you always check your bonfire thoroughly for sleeping hedgehogs before lighting it. A hedgehog will never generally hibernate outside one of these nests, and you can help it along by leaving plenty of undergrowth and tucked-away spaces in your own garden. You can also buy special hedgehog houses for them to build their nest inside.
How long do hedgehogs hibernate for?
Usually, hedgehogs hibernate for a period of around four months, from November to mid-March. However, this is dependent on the weather and in mild winters hedgehogs may remain active well into December. In addition, hedgehogs move nesting sites at least once during the hibernation period, so don’t be surprised if you see one out and about.
Do hedgehogs live alone?
In the wild, hedgehogs are solitary creatures. They hunt alone and don’t form lifelong bonds with other hedgehogs. Once a male and female have mated, the male (the boar) leaves the female (the sow) to raise the young hoglets alone.
Hedgehogs can tolerate each other and aren’t territorial, with conflicts normally only occurring over food or potential mates.
How heavy should a hedgehog be to hibernate safely?
Before hibernating, a hedgehog should weigh at least 600g. Otherwise it will get through its fat reserves too quickly and struggle to survive the winter. Sometimes a cold snap can encourage hedgehogs to hibernate prematurely. Hoglets born too late in the year can also face this problem.
If you have any concerns about a hedgehog being underweight, you can find your nearest wildlife rescue centre on www.helpwildlife.co.uk.
How Can I Help Hedgehogs When They Come Out Of Hibernation?
Garden Wildlife Expert Sean McMenemy comments on how to create a haven for hedgehogs as they come out of hibernation: “Gardens are vital habitat for hedgehogs and our top tips to help and encourage them are as follows:
- Firstly, hedgehogs need space to find food, shelter and love.
- Make a CD-sized hole in fences to give hedgehogs the room to roam.
- Give them a drink because water can be hard to find in summer – put out a shallow-sided dish of water and keep it topped up nightly.
- Also, supplement their diet with meaty hedgehog, dog or cat food to start their evening forage with a reliable source of food.
- Finally, add a hedgehog house or woodpile to a quiet corner, to provide sleeping quarters during long summer days.”
Do baby hedgehogs stay with their mother?
Sows will only usually care for their hoglets for about six to eight weeks, but by that time, the hoglets will be around ten times their birth weight. Then they’ll leave the nest to fend for themselves.
Hoglets (or urchins) might stay together for their first winter, particularly if they were born later in the year, and juvenile hedgehogs can be much more sociable than the adults.
With changes in weather noticeable in recent years, many wild animals naturally adjust their behaviour accordingly. delaying hibernation or breeding to the rhythm of the seasons.
Hedgehogs & Garden Wildlife
Read his full blog from: Ark Wildlife