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How To Wake A Hedgehog Up From Hibernation | Hedgehog Hibernation

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Many people search how to wake a hedgehog up from hibernation to no avail.

Usually, Hedgehog’s wake up from hibernation on their own. But what happens if that natural instinct becomes damage or worse still doesn’t work at all?

How do you wake up a hedgehog from hibernation if they don’t want to wake up themselves?

When my hedgehog went into hibernation early I realised there was something wrong. I tried to research smart tups to learn how to wake a hedgehog up from hibernation but couldn’t find anything substantial.

In this short article, we’ll debunk the myths and set the record straight.

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Hedgehog Hibernation

Usually, hedgehog hibernation happens around the colder months. They do this when the food supply becomes a bit more restricted. However many hedgehogs will choose not to hibernate if they receive food every day.

Hedgehog Hibernation begins around October and November and will usually last for a few months (up until March /April)

  • Hedgehogs do not stay hibernated
  • They do come out of hibernation early and sometimes go back in depending on their environment
  • They still need food just in case they wake up early or are woken up prematurely
  • Also, leave some food and water out just in case

Here’s what happens when your hedgehog hibernates:

  • Ideal nesting temperature for hibernation is around 5-C but it doesn’t go below that.
  • Your hedgehogs will feel very cold
  • Your hedgehogs will stop moving
  • You hedgehogs will have long intermittent breaths
  • Your hedgehog’s heart rate will drop
  • Your hedgehog’s organs are displaced to assist in the process

How To Wake A Hedgehog Up From Hibernation

Learning how to wake a hedgehog up from hibernation is more of an art than a skill. Each hedgehog needs something a little different and not all will respond in the same way.

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With that said here are 4 of the best ways to learn how to wake a hedgehog up from hibernation

These are the tips I used when my hedgehog went into hibernation. These hibernation attempts are great to assist a sensitive hedgehog or one that needs some extra care and attention.

If your Hedgehog needs a bit of help to wake up from hibernation then you can do this:

1. Raise their body temperature

Normally, to wake up your hedgehog will metabolise the fat in its body to warm itself up. This helps to warm the blood and get the hedgehog out of hibernation.

If this is not happening then bring the hedgehog inside or increase the temperature in the room. This will trick their body into thinking spring has come and its time to come out of hibernation.

You could also try a heating pad. A heating pad is a smart way to raise a small pet’s body temperature in a safe way.

2. Damp cloth

Use a damp cloth to warm her quills and rub her body gentle. To wake up a hedgehog from hibernation you need to slowly warm their body up. Putting them in a warm bath may sound like a smart thing to do, but it will do more harm than good. This is because the sudden increase in temperate can shock their systems

3. Outside Environment 

If your hedgehog is outside then encouraged them to come inside. There are lots of dangers outside and if you want them to successfully wake up from hibernation you’ll need to bring them inside where you can observe them more closely.

4. Have water ready

After being asleep for so long your hedgehog needs to drink plenty of fluids. You’ll see a noticeable difference in their weight as they have spent so many months without food. Make sure you have a healthy supply of hedgehog food and water ready and laid out for them as soon as they wake up.

Prevention is better than cure. In the future try to figure out why your hedgehog went into hedgehog in the first place. In the majority of cases, it’s going to do with the LED lighting timing setting around the winter months.

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Make sure you adjust the timing to better reflect an environment that doesn’t promote hibernation. Example of this would be changing the LED lighting to match the outside natural sunlight that gets shorter.

Do Hedgehogs hibernate alone?

Yes, Hedgehogs hibernate by themselves from November to April. They will usually find a safe, secure area that is sheltered from the elements and weathering. (A shed is a perfect retreat)

It’s not uncommon to see hedgehogs forage at night if it’s a bit warmer outside.

At what temperature do hedgehogs hibernate?

Hibernation attempts are best around 5 degrees. This is a healthy temperature for hedgehogs to hibernate efficiently. Anything lower then this should be avoided. Any icy conditions could be detrimental to their health.

​What happens if you wake a hedgehog hibernating?

Usually, a hedgehog will lose about one-third of their body weight while they are hibernating. As your hedgehog wakes up after such a long time hibernating they will be disorientated and very weak. They will also look lethargic and will be unsteady on their feet.

How do you wake a hedgehog up?

Gently, the best way to wake up your hedgehog is to pick it up firmly and hold it flat in your hands right out in front of you. This should be a deliberate and swift movement. Once your hedgehog start to awake it will uncurl and try to put its foot on the ground.

Is my hedgehog dead or hibernating?

A hedgehog that is hibernating will usually be rolled up tight into a ball and you will not be able to see their face. The quick way to tell if your hedgehog is alive is to touch it gently and watch for a “ripple” effect. You may even hear a sleeping snore sound if you listen very carefully.

What triggers hibernation in hedgehogs?

Hedgehog Hibernation is triggered from a slow down in food. This means when food slows down their energy will naturally slow down too. A hedgehogs diet consists of small insects like snails, beetles, slugs, caterpillars etc. When the weather gets chillier food is more challenging to find, so they choose to reduce their use of energy as a counterbalance.

Why is hibernation bad for hedgehogs?

Hibernation in hedgehogs that are not wild can be bad. This is due to pet hedgehogs being unprepared for the process of hibernation.

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When hedgehogs go into hibernate, they require a lot of excess fat to survive. Unplanned hibernation can be risky since the hedgehog won’t have extra fat saved and therefore will not be prepared for hibernation.

When should I stop feeding my hedgehog for the winter?

Try to leave lots of little pieces of food out after sunset for pet hedgehogs. Things like specific hedgehog food or most brands of cat and dog food biscuits will work to keep them healthy.

Remember, If you see a hedgehog hibernating and you are unsure whether they will be able to survive until late March then never move them.

Why would a hedgehog be out in the day?

Hedgehogs are instinctively nocturnal and sleep during the day. They forage for food in the late evening to early morning. If you see a hedgehog out during daylight hours then this is a sign of a problem.

Try to contain it in a cage or a safe box with a lid. Once indoors alert your local pet centre.

Why do hedgehogs die if they hibernate?

Hedgehogs can die from a variety of causes during hibernation, but the main causes are hypothermia & starvation. If your hedgehog appears to be having difficulties slowing down their metabolism then they may not recover if they are not revived after the first 72 hours.

How do I know if my hedgehog is happy?

This will depend on your hedgehog and their character. Every hedgehog is different and they all have unique personalities to show their happiness. However, one telltale sign your hedgehog is relaxed and happy is whether or not their quills lay flat or stick up and whiffle.

How do you encourage hedgehogs?

There are a few smart ways to encourage hedgehogs inside your garden:

1. Create a hedgehog roadway.
2. Add a hedgehog residence.
3. Leave water out.
4. Create a feeding location.
5. Optimise a pond.
6. Don’t touch them when hibernating.
7. Refrain from slug pellets and similar chemicals in your garden.
8. Remove all netting on the ground.

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