It’s nearly time for our hedgehog friends to go into hibernation for the winter. That means that they’ll find somewhere cosy to settle down and ‘sleep’ away the cold months! Even when hedgehogs are supposed to be hibernating, there are still things we can do to lend a helping hand. In her blog, Hester the Hedgehog tells you all about hibernation and what you can do to help.
What is hibernation for hedgehogs?
During hibernation we might look like we’re asleep but what we’re actually doing is something really clever! When the weather gets colder and we go into hibernation, we drop our body temperature to match the weather around us. This means we save SO much energy that we would otherwise use to keep ourselves warm. We use the summer to gain weight and store energy ready for when we hibernate.
When do hedgehogs go into hibernation?
Hedgehogs hibernate during the colder months over the winter. We’ll usually start going into hibernation from October to November and won’t start to be active again until the warmer weather arrives in March or April. If we’re having a mild winter, we can remain active throughout November and December.
How can I help hedgehogs as they prepare to go into hibernation?
As the weather gets colder, our primary sources of food start to dwindle and this can make it hard for us to eat enough food to make sure we have the right amount of energy reserves for our time in hibernation. You can help us by putting out some food in a shallow dish for us to eat. We love eating dry or wet cat and dog food and can find it easier when it’s in a sheltered place in your garden for us enjoy in peace! Learn more about feeding hedgehogs.
What to do if you see an active, small hedgehog when it should be hibernating
Us hedgehogs are nocturnal. This means that we’re awake through the night and sleep during the day. So, if you see us walking around in the daytime or during the winter when we should be hibernating, there might be a problem. You should carefully pick us up and put us in a cardboard box with a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel. This way, we’ll keep warm and cosy but won’t get too hot! Then you should contact your local vet, the RSPCA or The British Hedgehog Preservation Society.
Ahead of us going into hibernation, East Cambridgeshire District Council would like your help to report sightings of any hedgehogs in the district, particularly any near roadsides. Alongside their #ECDCWatch campaign, which encourages the protection of hedgehogs and swifts year round, ECDC have launched #ECDCHogspot encourage people across our district to report their sightings of hedgehogs up until we go into hibernation. Once you’ve spotted a hedgehog, you can plot your sighting on the People’s Trust for Endangered Species and The British Hedgehog Society’s hedgehog map. You can access the map and add your sightings here.