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Hedgehog FAQ [7/7] - Wild Hedgehogs
Section - <12.8> Watching out for hibernating hedgehogs

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Top Document: Hedgehog FAQ [7/7] - Wild Hedgehogs
Previous Document: <12.7> Dangers to wild hedgehogs
See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
European hedgehogs hibernate during the winter months (or cold months,
depending on where you might be located), unlike wild African Pigmy hedgehogs
who tend to do the opposite, aestivating [12.1] during the hot dry periods
[7.3].

The core hibernation months for hedgehogs, in Europe, are typically January
through March, with some hedgehogs who haven't put on enough weight in time
still staying up and around until February (usually desperately trying to add
to their winter fat so they can survive the cold).

Hibernation is a tough time for hedgehogs.  If they haven't put on enough
weight, or if it is a particularly long or cold winter, they just might not
make it.  However, even well fed hedgehogs who think they've found the ideal,
snug, warm place to survive the winter can run into modern problems, as
described by Seabury Salmon:

    About Fall time, they hibernate in piles of leaves and things at the
    bottom of the garden. The British gardener is a tidy beast and likes to
    burn the leaves. Hence, roast hedgehog.

Before you start burning your leaves, etc., give the pile a quick check in
case a friendly neighborhood hedgehog has made a winter den in the middle of
your refuse.

    European [hedgehogs] prepare for hibernation when it gets real
    cold: 7 degrees Celsius and below (about 16 degrees Fahrenheit).
    -- Peter Captijn

[Forgive me Peter, but I wish I lived with your idea of ``real cold'' -- that
sounds like a nice warm spring or autumn day! -- Ed.]

Hedgehogs will often remain curled up in hibernation until well into April.
If you discover one in a pile of leaves in your garden in the spring, you can
give him a good start to the year by putting out a pan of dog or cat food
where he will find it when he wakes up.  You may even gain a friend who will
continue to visit your garden.

I should probably point out that hedgehogs do not need to hibernate, and if
given the opportunity to not do so, they certainly will not hibernate!  It is
primarily because food is not available during the cold weather that they go
into hibernation (witness the fact that many animals don't hibernate in the
same climate).  Because of this, rest assured that you aren't doing any harm
by keeping a hedgehog from its winter's nap.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
-- 
Brian MacNamara - macnamara@HedgehogHollow.COM
Hedgehog Hollow:  http://HedgehogHollow.COM/   

User Contributions:

Rio
Report this comment as inappropriate
Apr 26, 2012 @ 10:22 pm
Hi, my hedgehog started running around her cage squealing so I took her out to see what was wrong. Her genital area was inflamed and she had open sores all around that area. I gave her a bath, but I'm really worried about her. Do you have any idea what this could be?
Thank you!

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Top Document: Hedgehog FAQ [7/7] - Wild Hedgehogs
Previous Document: <12.7> Dangers to wild hedgehogs

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