Everything You Need to Know About Hedgehogs and Hibernation

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Need to Know About Hedgehogs and Hibernation

Why do hedgehogs hibernate?

If you’ve ever seen a hedgehog in person, you know how cute and prickly they can be.

These little creatures are native to Europe and parts of Asia, and while they’re not exactly common pets in the United States, they’re gaining in popularity.

One of the things that make hedgehogs so unique is their hibernation habits. Let’s take a look at why hedgehogs hibernate and what this means for them.

Hibernation is a natural process that allows animals to survive cold winters by going into a deep sleep.

During hibernation, an animal’s body temperature decreases, and its heart rate and breathing slow down significantly.

This helps them conserve energy because they don’t have to eat as much. For hedgehogs, hibernation typically lasts from October to March.

How Do Hedgehogs Hibernate?

Hedgehogs usually start preparing for hibernation in the fall by eating more food so that they can put on extra fat.

They also build nests out of leaves and twigs to protect themselves from the cold weather. When it’s time to hibernate, hedgehogs curl up into a tight ball inside their nest with their face tucked under their belly.

During hibernation, hedgehogs will wake up every few weeks to eat and drink before going back into their deep sleep.

They don’t need much food because their metabolism slows down significantly during this time.

However, if the temperature outside gets too warm, hedgehogs will wake up from their hibernation early.

Why Do Hedgehogs Hibernate?

Hibernation helps hedgehogs survive cold winters when there isn’t enough food available.

By eating more food in the fall and then going into such a deep sleep, they can make it through the winter months until food becomes more plentiful again in the springtime.

What Triggers A Pet Hedgehog To Try To Hibernate?

There is no one answer to this question since there are so many different types of hedgehogs. Some hedgehogs might try to hibernate if they get too cold, while others might try to hibernate if they get too hot.

Still, others might try to hibernate if they become stressed or encounter some other type of change in their environment.

In general, hedgehogs will enter into a state of hibernation when their body temperature drops and their heart rate slows down.

This usually happens either when the temperature outside falls below 50 degrees Fahrenheit or when the hedgehog has gone for an extended period without eating anything.

What Are The Signs That Your Hedgehog Is Trying To Hibernate?

There are a few key signs your hedgehog is trying to hibernate:

1. He/she will be very inactive and won’t want to move.

2. He/she may become thin and lose weight.

3. He/she may stop eating and drinking altogether.

4. His/her body temperature will drop significantly.

5. He/she may have spasms or contractions in his muscles as if he’s trying to curl into a ball (this is called tonic immobility).

6. His respiratory rate will decrease significantly and he may even stop breathing momentarily.

How long do hedgehogs hibernate for?

Hedgehogs hibernate for an average of six months during the winter. Some may hibernate for as long as seven months, while others may only sleep for four or five months.

Hedgehogs are one of several species of animals that hibernate. During hibernation, their body temperature drops, and they use less energy, which allows them to survive on stored fat reserves.

They typically enter into hibernation in late October or early November and awaken in late March or early April.

What happens when hedgehogs hibernate?

Hedgehogs hibernate to survive the winter when food is scarce. They enter into a state of deep sleep and their heart rate, breathing rate, and body temperature all drop significantly.

Hedgehogs eat a lot of food before hibernating so that their bodies can use up the energy slowly over time. While they’re hibernating, their bodies don’t need as much oxygen or food, which is why their heart rate and breathing rate slow down.

And since it’s colder outside during the winter, their body doesn’t need to produce as much heat, which is why their body temperature drops.

How to Stop Hedgehog Hibernation Attempts

There are a few things you can do to help prevent hedgehogs from hibernating.

Most importantly, make sure they have access to food and water year-round.

You can also provide them with a shelter or box to sleep in, and keep the area around their home warm and dry.

If you live in an area where it gets very cold, you may need to provide some supplemental heat for your hedgehog during the winter months.

When Should I Take My Hedgehog To the Vet After a Hibernation Attempt

It is best to consult with a veterinarian to determine the best course of action after a hedgehog has attempted hibernation.

Some factors that will be considered include the hedgehog’s health before hibernation, how long they were hibernated, and how they are acting now that they have woken up.

Generally speaking, if a hedgehog has successfully woken up from hibernation there is usually no need for further treatment, but it is always best to check with a professional.

Steps To Take After A Hibernation Attempt

1. Check the person for injuries. If there are any, seek medical help immediately.

2. Warm the person slowly. Use a blanket or towels heated in the dryer, and place them over the person, covering as much of the body as possible. Do not use hot water, candles, or fires to warm the person.

3. Give the person something warm to drink, such as broth or tea.

4. Talk to the person softly and reassuringly. They may be disoriented and confused.

5. Monitor their vital signs, such as breathing and heart rate. Call for medical help if there are any concerning changes.

6. Contact a veterinarian if the hedgehog does not seem to be recovering normally or appears to be in pain or discomfort after waking from hibernation.

It is important to take steps to prevent future hibernation attempts, such as providing a warm and stable environment with access to food and water year-round.

Please note that it is best to consult with a veterinarian for specific advice on how to care for your hedgehog during the winter months.


What Should I Do If My Hedgehog Tries to Hibernate?

If you have a hedgehog that is attempting to hibernate, you should provide it with a dark, quiet place where it can do so undisturbed. A small container like a storage bin or Rubbermaid container works well.

Be sure to check on your hedgehog periodically to make sure it is still alive – you don’t want it to hibernate too long and risk dying from starvation.

Also, be aware that if your hedgehog has been sick or injured, hibernation may not be an appropriate option and you should consult a veterinarian.

What Should I Do If I Accidentally Disturb a Hibernating Hedgehog?

If you ever come across a hedgehog that appears to be hibernating, it is best to leave it alone!

Disturbing a hibernating hedgehog can cause it to expend valuable energy reserves and may cause it to die. Hedgehogs typically enter into hibernation during late fall or early winter when food and shelter are scarce, and they will typically emerge from hibernation in the spring when food and shelter become more plentiful.

If you are worried about an injured or sick hedgehog, please contact your local wildlife rehabilitator for assistance. Thank you for helping keep our native wildlife safe!

Is It Dangerous For Pet Hedgehogs To Hibernate?

There is no definitive answer to this question since hedgehogs have different ways of hibernating, and some may be in danger while others are not.

In general, it is probably safe for pet hedgehogs to hibernate as long as they are closely monitored by their owners and the hibernation process is done slowly and carefully.

It is always important to contact a veterinarian if there are any concerns about whether or not a pet hedgehog should hibernate.


Hibernation is a fascinating process that helps animals survive tough winters with little food available.

For hedgehogs, this typically occurs from October to March when they curl up into a tight ball inside a nest with their face tucked under their belly.

Their metabolism slows down considerably during this time, but if the temperature outside gets too warm, they will wake up from their hibernation early.

All in all, hibernation helps these little creatures survive until food becomes more plentiful again in the springtime.

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