Hedgehog Hibernation

Our British hedgehogs have recently been classified vulnerable to extinction on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List as it is estimated that there are less than a million left in the UK.

Hedgehogs start to hibernate in October/November and the Scottish Wildlife Trust have some useful information on making them more comfortable in your garden.

(image: © Michael Gäbler / Wikimedia Commons)

Juvenile hedgehogs weighing less than 500 grams during late autumn will be unlikely to survive through their winter hibernation and so will need help. Download this factsheet caring for autumn juvenile hedgehogs from the RSPCA for advice.

Or you can call the SSPCA on 03000 999 999 if you find a sick, injured of underweight hog.

How to make your garden more hog friendly –

  • Resist the temptation to remove all of the leaf litter from your garden. Instead leave log and leaf piles which make a perfect nesting place as well as great habitat for all of the invertebrates (beetles, slugs etc) that hedgehogs love to feed on.
  • If your fruits have finished for the season and the kids don’t play football in the winter, remove all types of netting from the garden as hedgehogs and other critters can easily become entangled in it.
  • Before beginning any work in your garden, check for hedgehogs hiding in bushes etc before using any strimmers or lawnmowers. Compost heaps make lovely warm nesting places for hogs, so do be careful and check before forking it over.
  • As we are approaching bonfire night, please build any bonfires as close to the lighting time as you can, and always check them thoroughly for any animals which may have begun nesting in it.

Hedgehogs have surprisingly large territories, they have been known to roam up to 2km in a single night. To allow free movement of hogs between neighbouring gardens and fields it is also recommended that you add a 13cm square hole through fences.