Do Pet Hedgehogs Hibernate?

Hedgehogs are growing in popularity as pets in the United States. Their popularity leads people to believe there should be more conversation about these pets and how they should be cared for.

If you want to take care of your hedgehogs properly, then it’s only natural to want to know everything about them.

Many hedgehog caretakers want to know burning questions about their pets, like, ‘do pet hedgehogs hibernate?’

In the blog below, we’ll tell you all you need to know to ensure that pet hedgehogs will hibernate in captivity.

Do Hedgehogs Hibernate?

The simple answer is yes, they do. In the wild, hedgehogs are in hibernation from December to March. These animals are native to different parts of Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America.

You can find them anywhere, but they are nocturnal animals, meaning they come out at night.

During the colder months of December to March, it becomes extremely cold at night, so hedgehogs find it best to conserve energy by going into hibernation.

When hibernating, the body temperature in these hedgehogs drops, and they slow down their heart and breathing rates to conserve energy while maintaining torpor.

Torpor is not common in domesticated pets, but it is commonplace for hedgehogs in the wild.

Do Pet Hedgehogs Hibernate?

However, when you keep these hedgehogs as pets, you provide them with an extremely normal temperature.

This median temperature means that your pet hedgehogs will not feel the need to hibernate.

Your pet hedgehogs also know that you will continue to feed them even when the temperatures turn chilly; thus, domesticated hedgehogs will not hibernate.

What Triggers Hibernation in Hedgehogs?

Remembering that hedgehogs don’t just enter hibernation of their own accord is important. Certain changes in their surroundings allow hedgehogs to go into hibernation and escape it.

The most important factor to consider is the air temperature around them.

During the winter months, it will start to get cold during the nights. Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, so they’re prone to coming out only at night.

When the temperatures fall, the hedgehogs will sense it and start preparing for hibernation.

It’s also significant to note that hedgehogs are omnivorous, and their food sources are not as abundant during the winter.

They will feed on small insects and bugs, all of which enter a state of hibernation when cold.

Since hedgehogs have fewer food sources, they also take this as a sign that they should hibernate in the winter until the food is abundant again in the spring.

All hedgehogs are different, meaning their hibernation cycles will differ, but if they remain in the wild, they will hibernate.

With pet hedgehogs, the reason for not hibernating can be broken down:

  • When you keep hedgehogs as pets, you keep them in a temperate climate. Without the extremely cold air around your hedgehogs, they don’t feel the need to start preparing for winter and hibernation.
  • Furthermore, you would provide food for them consistently, which means that they also don’t feel like saving up for winter, so none of their hibernation mechanisms are triggered when you take care of them, which is why pet hedgehogs do not, and will not hibernate.

Measures You Can Take to Prevent Per Hedgehog Hibernation

Hedgehogs may hibernate for several reasons, and even if they’re your pets and get cold enough, they may hibernate all the same.

Yet, there are certain actions and measures that you may take to prevent or delay their hibernation. We have listed some of the measures that you can take below:

Maintain a Controlled Room Temperature

To ensure your hedgehogs don’t hibernate, you should crank up your heating and maintain a more comfortable environment.

You don’t want your hedgehogs to feel cold, but you don’t want them to feel warm and toasty.

If you notice that your temperature easily falls to 16 degrees, it may be time for you to turn up the heat.

You don’t want to put your hedgehog into a cold room because it may get triggered and go into hibernation mode.

You want to keep warmers in their cages so that they feel warm and taken care of.

We suggest keeping hedgehog cages inside your home for the winter months instead of brandishing them out in the wild.

Some owners also want to fit the cages for heating, generally through electricity.

However, the heating can fail when it gets extremely cold, so you should ensure other more manual methods of keeping your hedgehogs warm.

Heating is expensive now, but you can make sure that you keep it on during the coldest months.

Supply them With a Heat Mat

If you want to take good care of your hedgehogs, it may be time to provide them with a heating mat to remain warm. Using a heat mat can provide them with a  lot more insulation.

Many people provide an electrical heat mat that can help increase the temperature your hedgehogs are surrounded by, preventing them from hibernating.

Keep the Cage Near a Heat Lamp

Heat lamps are some of the best ways for you to provide some heat to cages that are not made out of plastic.

Heat lamps will provide hedgehogs with directed heat like the sun gives out during summer. 

It would be best if you kept certain aspects in mind when using a heat lamp:

  • The best thing about this heat lamp is that it is very efficient and doesn’t require much electricity.
  • You don’t even have to keep it turned on throughout the day.
  • You only have to turn it on at night when it’s extremely cold.
  • If you’re buying one for the first time, you may want to find one that will be manageable through a thermostat and a thermometer. Doing so means you have more control over the heat you provide to your hedgehogs so they don’t accidentally become too hot.

However, remember that you don’t want to opt for a heat lamp if your hedgehogs have a plastic cage.

Opt for a Sleeping Pouch

You can protect your hedgehog in many other ways, such as by providing them with a sleeping pouch.

Many experts suggest that the sleeping pouch be something you use in combination with another warmer.

You may have to introduce the sleeping pouch to your hedgehog a few times before it finally decides to sleep.

Make sure that you stay with your hedgehog a few times so that they may get comfortable in the pouch and know how to use it when they require it.

Final Thoughts

Most wild hedgehogs will hibernate, but most pet hedgehogs will not. You can always provide your pets with conditions that refrain them from hibernating.

You need to know when it’s time to increase the heat in your home so your pet hedgehogs don’t sleep.

If they seem like they’re dull and slow, it may be an indication that they need some extra heat and support.

Providing them with heat and food will prevent your pet hedgehogs from succumbing to hibernation; thus, they can enjoy a better time throughout the year.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Long do Hedgehogs Sleep During the Day?

Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals and they tend to sleep during the day for an average of 18-20 hours. However, they may wake up periodically to eat, drink, or explore their surroundings.

Do Hedgehogs Make Noise When They Sleep?

No, hedgehogs are quiet when they sleep. They may make some soft snoring or breathing sounds, but they are not known to make any loud or disruptive noises while sleeping.

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