Hedgehog hibernation

Hedgehog hibernation

In your garden you have found a motionless hedgehog. Now of course the question arises: is he dead or is he just hibernating? How can you recognize this?

Is the hedgehog dead or just hibernating?

Normally hedgehogs hibernate between November and March. You have found a hedgehog in the garden and are now unsure whether it is dead or just hibernating. You can tell this quite easily if you observe the animal more closely.

  • During hibernation, hedgehogs only breathe about 3 to 4 times per minute. However, you can't see these barely visible breaths with the naked eye.
  • Therefore, pay attention to the posture of the hedgehog. An animal in hibernation curls up into a ball. You can see neither the head nor the feet. However, if the animal is dead, it usually lies flat on its back and both the feet and the head are visible.
  • If you gently stroke the hedgehog's spines during hibernation, they will immediately return to their original position. In the case of a dead animal, they remain in the folded position.
  • A Hedgehog in hibernation often gives a snoring sound when nudged of itself.
  • After only a short time, a dead hedgehog will have a very strong odor of decay. This is therefore the surest sign of a dead animal.

Attention - the hibernation of the hedgehog is not continuous

  • If you find a hedgehog in your garden, just leave him alone. If possible, cover the nest again and move away.
  • Many hedgehogs wake up briefly during hibernation. However, they do not leave their nest or hedgehog house.
  • During hibernation, the hedgehog's body temperature drops from 36 degrees to 5 degrees. Therefore, a cold hedgehog body is not a sign that the animal is dead.

What to do with a dead hedgehog?

If it turns out that the hedgehog is actually dead, then contact either a vet or a hedgehog rescue center. They will be able to confirm the death of the animal. You can then either bury the hedgehog in your garden or have it cremated by a vet.

If you have decided to bury in your garden, you need to consider the following:

  • Dig a hole at least half a meter deep.
  • Wrap the hedgehog in newspaper and place it in the hole.
  • Once you have filled the hole, put something heavy on top of it so that pets or other animals won't dig it up again. Usually a flower pot or a stone slab is enough.


Garden animal
Garden animal - A life with nature

Welcome to my animal blog! My name is Dirk and I am happy to take you on my journey through the fascinating world of animals and gardening.

Born 54 years ago, I have had an insatiable curiosity for the animal world around me since childhood. Although I have moved professionally in other industries, my true passion has always been animals and nature. It is remarkable how a small garden has become such an important part of my life.

Many of my fondest memories are associated with the animals that share our home. Whether it's the curious squirrels that scurry across the trees in the morning, the colorful variety of birds that visit our feeders, or the busy bees and butterflies that pollinate our flowers, every moment with them is invaluable to me.

This blog is my contribution to share my experiences, discoveries and insights with like-minded people. Here I will share stories of unforgettable encounters with animals, give tips on gardening and creating wildlife-friendly habitats, and take you on my journeys through nature.

Thank you so much for being here!

Dirk aka garden animal
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