Hedgehogs are one of three hibernating mammals in the UK and traditionally they get ready for the ‘big sleep’ in October. Hedgehogs can survive well in extreme temperatures but they cannot survive without food.
We have noticed a trend over the last decade, it maybe climate change, it may be availability of food or even evolution but for whatever the reason some hedgehogs just don’t sleep. At the wildlife rescue we now see hedgehogs arrive all year and we see hoglets born in the winter months. Our studies show that hedgehogs don’t always hibernate hibernate or they may only partially hibernate. They sometimes sleep for several days or weeks at a time and then they appear for short spells.
Hedgehog 365 is asking you to let us know if you have winter feeding hedgehogs and is asking you to feed and care for wild hedgehogs over winter in just the same way that you do in the summer.
We want to know if you have a winter feeding hedgehog and when it is awake. By using our interactive map you can add the details of any hedgehogs that you see through the winter especially ‘Puddlestump’ - the hedgehog that doesn’t hibernate. Grace's map
Do you have Puddlestump, a Slumbert or a Picalilly in your garden?
Here are just three of our many hogstars and their personalities. Can you find the ones that best fit the hedgehogs in your garden and get them onto our interactive map.
Meet Puddlestump, Slumbert & Picalilly, just three of our 'Hogstars'.
Puddlestump is a busy bustling boy who thinks the big winter sleep is for wimps He simply never rests. Puddlestump is a natural athlete, have you ever seen a hedgehog running? well, this boy’s ‘nippy’ - don’t Blink or he will be gone! Puddlestump doesn’t hibernate like many of his friends as he doesn't want to miss out on anything think so the ‘big Winter sleep’ is a waste of his time for him. He may sleep for some short period but never the whole winter. He’s a clever boy and his ever twitching nose is lightning quick to find gardens that feed him through the winter months.
Slumbert is always looking for somewhere dry to snuggle down. Sleep is foremost on his mind. Slumbert loves to snooze all day in his warm, safe, and comfy bed and he always knows where to find one. He always looking for the safest driest place to rest and always find it. He’s even been known to nod off between big sleeps! Slumbert ‘the sleepy hog’ is really very good at counting sheep…
Picalilly: A feisty mum who has cared for many hoglets and never stops protecting each and every one of them. Picalilly loves being with the hoglets. This busy Mum simply never stops - She exhausting to watch! She’ll make sure the hoglets in her care get 24-7 attention She shows them where to feed and once they are occupied you will find her gathering her nesting material or tidying out the hog house
If you feed visiting hedgehogs throughout the summer and they are dependant on you, we believe it is important to continue to do this over the winter, even if you don’t see them for periods of time we believe there is a chance that they will appear.
If you are regular feeders of hedgehogs in your garden we would ask you to monitor the youngsters. They don’t have to hibernate so long as suitable food, water and dry accommodation is available to them they can continue to thrive. We would like to see hedgehogs remain in the wild and urge caution at collecting late healthy babies and bringing them into a rescue. All wild animals live and learn and the best place for a wild animal to learn is in the wild. If your hoglets are healthy please consider feeding and providing dry places for them to rest. We are always happy to take in underweight and ill hedgehogs during the winter period but if they are healthy juveniles and they can remain in the wild with your support it will stand them in much better stead.
Step away from the hedgehog!
We are seeing young juvenile's staying awake during the hibernation season because they do not have the fat reserves to hibernate. We think 600g is solid safe weight for full hibernation. They often appear unaffected by the extreme cold providing and only providing they have safe and dry accommodation and have access to food and unfrozen water. Last year we saw several cases of underweight hoglets surviving the winter in the wild and not hibernating at all, this was with the support of kind humans who fed daily. As more and more hoglets are born later in the year it would be good to help them adapt to this increasing and permanent change to their life style
We think it is vital that these semi-hibernators and youngsters have access to food if they do wake up. They will remember that you offer them food, and they will come to you to get it!
We are advising through our Hedgehog 365 campaign that if you feed in the summer then you should consider feeding in the winter. Click here for hedgehog Diet
N.B. Grace’s Five Point Charter always advocates natural planting first to encourage the natural, invertebrates, slugs and bugs that feed Grace. After all, Grace is known as a gardener’s best friend for a reason! You will want her to rid you of your garden pests Hedgehogs foraging for a natural diet in a well stocked garden, are independent of humans and able to survive when people move house or go away on holiday.