Forum home Wildlife gardening

Seen two hedgehogs, query over hibernation

I've seen two hedgehogs in my garden! Which is totally amazing, as I only cut a hedgehog hole in our wire fence a week ago. We border a stream (ditch?) on that side, and since moving here last December I've often thought that despite being quite tatty, our boundary looked impenetrable for land-based wildlife, in case any happened to be wandering along that way. Turns out, if you build it, they will come!

Anyway, excitement aside, I now seem to be visited by two hedgehogs, both look like they are this year's litter, so I'm trying to feed them up ready for winter. I think they might just about be big enough to get through. They must be thinking about hibernation soon, and I wanted to buy a hedgehog house.

I always though hedgehogs were solitary animals, but these two seem to be travelling together. My query is around hibernation - will they be likely to hibernate together, or will they hibernate separately?

I was hoping that if I buy a hedgehog house with a fairly large internal chamber, they might hibernate together*, but is that likely?

*if they decide to use it, of course...


  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,421
    It's not unheard of for 2 hedgehogs to share a house, but it is unusual. I wouldn't worry too much about the size of the internal chamber, your main concern should be the siting of the house and the access chamber (so that predators such as badgers can't get in).
    If you have a look at the BHPS website they have lots of information, also if you have a local rescue they often have hedgehog houses for sale. Don't be tempted by one of those "basket weave" igloo shaped types.
    Congratulations on attracting hedgehogs to your garden, it just goes to show that Hedgehog Highways do work ! 🦔🦔

  • purplerallimpurplerallim Posts: 4,833
    That is lovely to hear @Anna33 😁
    On the question of hibernating together I would say yes. Last year I had two unrelated baby hogs brought into my garden by their mother's, and left.
    After a month ( when the undergrowth had died back enough for me to see) I realised they were both using the same den ( an upturned wide bulb planter, up on two bricks, with no holes) even though there was a perfectly good wooden hog house there too.🙄 So as long as you find a quiet corner, maybe under a hedge or behind plants next to a fence, like mine, they should be fine. 
    One tip, don't put food in or near the house, as that may encourage rats. Keep food and water out in the open.
    This is the house hubby bought me, it has been used, but took a year.😁

  • Anna33Anna33 Posts: 310
    Thank you both - and @purplerallim, that's exactly the type of house I was thinking of getting after looking through the various options. I had thought of one of those basket weave thingies, @AnniD, just because of cost, but they didn't look that durable, but I'll heed your advice and steer clear!

    I have got the perfect place for them, somewhere hidden against a fence behind a rather overgrown Salix Kilmarnock and a buddleia in the wrong place. Obviously this spot is perfect because it was the spot I'd planned on completely redoing over winter...(!) If the hoggies take up residence, I'll just hold off on that until Spring next year. 
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,421
    The one that @purplerallim has is the sort of thing you should look for, with a "zig zag" tunnel. Even if they don't use it, it's a fair bet that they know that it's there. If we get a mild Winter, it may be that they wake up and start moving around so even if they don't start off in it, they may end up in it by the Spring. 
    Bear in mind that they may still use it during the day in the warmer seasons for sleeping  :)
  • That's a sturdy looking house Purplerallim.

    This ours, probably not so.

    I put a baton along the front under the base to strengthen it.
    I also put door stops as feet on each corner and put it on a paving slab to keep it off the ground, also providing a bit of a "patio."

    A checked on it a few weeks after it had taken occupation, (when it was out to dinner) and noticed that a couple of weeks before when there had been some very heavy rain, there was evidence of some ingress of water in the top corner of the roof although it was perfectly dry inside.
    I did like the giant lily leaf it had brought in to brighten up its room.

    So I made this second bigger roof,

    Which just fits over the original one, with a bit of shelter at the front. It  has a "fall" towards the back so no rain will drip over the  entrance.
    The house is under the azaleas in a bed next to our patio close to the side fence.
    The slab on the top isn't really necessary, just a bit of "belt and braces" security.
    Foxes have been known to attempt to mess with hedgehog houses.

    I'd put plenty of hay in it, but every so often I'd put a handful of hay on the "patio" which it would drag in during the night until it had enough.

    It's now hibernating.
  • purplerallimpurplerallim Posts: 4,833
    All the adult hogs have been missing for about two months now. They looked so fat by mid August that by September they just stopped. I must feed them too well 😆
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,070
    The zig zag entrance helps deter cats too - they can get in and wreak havoc @Anna33, as well as eating food if you have any in there, or nearby   :)

    There's good suppliers of specific food for them too, if you haven't got any, although some of the kitten food is fine - chicken etc. Bear in mind the things that are really dangerous for them - bread, milk and mealworms, but I expect you already know that. 

    There's a good thread for all things hog on the forum too. I can't find it just now but I'm sure @AnniD will point you in the right direction   :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Anna33Anna33 Posts: 310
    @Fairygirl, haha, don't worry, it's not my first hedgehog rodeo, so to speak! :)

    I know the thread you're talking about, I remember it from a while back, and I did learn a lot from it when we first had hedghogs in the last garden. I've previously bought the special hedgehog food, but I'm not able to get any in the next few days, however we've got really good quality cat biscuits that our elderly cat has (meat flavoured), and quite honestly this garden is filled to the brim with slugs, beetles and worms if they wanted more of what nature intended! And I already have mealworms in for the birds, although I know they should only be given in moderation to hedgehogs.

    We do also have a cat next door who is a bit of a hunter, so whilst I think the hogs would be safe from her because of their spikes (she's a hunter, but also a bit of a wuss), something being cat proof is definitely high on my list of priorities! Thankfully my cat is too old and arthritic to be interested in anything that isn't his food, his water, or my lap.

    But I'm always still learning about these animals, so really appreciate any and all advice. :)

    Is this the one?
  • Anna33Anna33 Posts: 310
    I think I just get too excited about seeing hedgehogs in the garden - it will never not be awesome (in the literal sense) for me...!
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,421
    That's the one !
    Also a link to the British Hedgehog Preservation Society for anyone who's interested
    Most local rescues have Facebook as well. 
Sign In or Register to comment.