Typically, hedgehogs hibernate from late December/early January until late March time. However, this is very dependent on the weather and the individual hedgehog, as some will hibernate earlier or later, and some not at all!
Hedgehogs hibernate during winter as there is far less food available and they otherwise may not find enough to survive the colder months. During hibernation a hedgehog’s body temperature drops right down, as does their heart rate – they also only take a breath every few minutes! This slowing down of their physiological activities massively reduces the amount of energy they need to survive.
So, if you have hedgehogs visiting your garden it would be great if you could start popping out a dish of fresh water and some tinned cat or dog food (or dried kitten food) in the evenings to help our spikey friends gain that all important winter weight.
If you spot a particularly small hedgehog out in your garden and you are concerned you can pop on some gardening gloves and carefully weigh them – any under 500g by the end of November may struggle with hibernation, please either call us (01844 292292) or your local wildlife rescue for advice on what to do to help them. Please do not pick up large and otherwise healthy looking hedgehogs who are active at night.
Please do remember that any hedgehog of any size that is out in the day is likely struggling and will need help, so don’t delay please do get them along to your nearest rescue or call for help!
If you would like more information, please take a look at our hedgehog fact sheet: https://www.sttiggywinkles.org.uk/hedgehog-fact-sheet/