29, March, 2021
With the weather warming up and the sun appearing more and more, it means spring is here and the hedgehogs are coming out of hibernation! Remember, our spiky friends will be low on energy from their long sleep and will need lots of food and water to help them re-energise. Be sure to greet your local hedgehogs with tasty and nutritious treats like our Spike’s Hedgehog Food.
What time of year do hedgehogs come out?
Hedgehogs typically start to come out of hibernation from late March onwards, as the temperatures get warmer and the seasons change. This is the time of year they are most hungry and need lots of nutritious food and fresh water to replenish their energy stores. It’s worth remembering that hedgehogs can lose up to a third of their body weight by the time they come out of hibernation!
When hedgehogs first come out of hibernation, this is the best time to start feeding them, as natural food sources may still be scarce due to the slowly rising temperatures.
At this time of year, you might be tempted to get out into the garden and start tidying things up ready for the summer months. Remember not to be too tidy; even though hedgehogs are coming out of hibernation, they will still only come out at night time and may be snoozing in your hedges or in a pile of leaves during the day.
As you start tending to your gardens you might think about putting slug pellets down. Slugs are a part of a hedgehogs diet and any chemicals used in slug pellets will also affect hedgehogs that eat these slugs. Instead, try protecting your plants with non chemical methods, so the slugs can still live in your garden without causing damage and continue to be sustenance for hedgehogs.
What months are hedgehogs active?
Once out of hibernation, hedgehogs remain active through spring and summer and start to think about hibernation again in late autumn, typically at the end of November. Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, sleeping through the day and venturing out at dusk to find food or to meet potential mating partners.
As we move into April, all hedgehogs will now be active and will be searching for nesting sites and mates. It’s important to keep leaving out food and water as they need to have replenished their fat stores ready for the mating season and they also need energy to search for a suitable nesting place.
May is the official mating season for hedgehogs with females giving birth to their little hoglets in June. In July, hoglets will start emerging from their nests on the lookout for food and will slowly become more and more independent from their mothers. Hoglets are usually fully self-reliant by August.
As autumn comes back around, some female hedgehogs may have had their second litter of hoglets, although later litters might struggle to gain the weight needed for hibernation. Juveniles weighing under 300g may not yet have been weaned or could have been orphaned if found on their own. If you happen to find one contact your local specialised hedgehog rescue, who will be able to provide the specialist care needed to support juveniles in time for winter. Nesting for hedgehogs begins in October and they will be eating plenty of food ready for hibernation again in November!
Keeping some fresh, clean water and some yummy Spike’s Hedgehog Food available throughout the year will support your garden visitors each season and help keep them off the list of threatened species.
What temperature do hedgehogs come out of hibernation?
Hedgehogs do prefer the weather to be warmer so will emerge when temperatures reach around five-degree Celsius, which tends to be in the month of March. However, it may be as late as April until all of our spiky friends are active again.
Although the majority of hedgehogs hibernate at some point during the year (some may not start hibernating until around christmas time) if the temperature stays relatively warm (above 5 degrees) then some hogs have been known to not hibernate at all. This has been documented in the South of England where temperatures remain warmer than the North throughout the year.
Another one of the key reasons hedgehogs may not hibernate is the abundance of food being provided by all of you hedgehog heroes! This has enabled many hedgehogs to get nice and fat, meaning they can survive the winter without the need to protect fat stores by hibernating. No matter the time of year, if you see any hedgehogs out and about in the day time, make sure to contact your nearest Hedgehog Rescue and they will be able to advise you on the best course of action.
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