Hibernation attempt, what to do

What should I do?

If you think your hedgehog is attempting to hibernate, you should take steps immediately to begin warming them back up. Even if you have misdiagnosed the symptoms, you will not do them any harm, the best method to warm up a hedgehog is to place them close to your skin and cover them in up, your body heat is ideal for transferring heat to them. See the Do’s and Do Not’s for further options.

Do’s

  • Do warm them slowly by laying them against the skin and cover them
  • Do take them to bed with you and keep them against your skin
  • Do place them on a heating pad set on low temperature and cover them
  • Do covering them with a towel that has been slightly warmed in the dryer
  • Do place them indirectly on a hot water bottle

Do Not’s

  • Do not place them on an extremely warm surface
  • Do not put the hedgehog in the oven or in an extremely warm location
  • Do not place them in warm water, being wet actually cause heat loss faster
  • Do not warm them too rapidly though, because this can cause them to go into shock
  • Do not let their water bottle get cold, this will drain the heat from their bodies

What next

As soon as your hedgehog starts waking up and moving around, offer lukewarm water and small amounts of soft foods. Continue your efforts to warm your hedgehog until the belly is warm and the hedgehog is fully alert and able to move around normally with no shakiness or instability.

Continue monitoring your hedgehog closely for several days after a hibernation attempt, as they may be prone to a repeated attempt. Also watch for signs of respiratory problems, such as loud breathing, nasal discharge and open mouth breathing, or exaggerated movement of the chest while breathing. Monitor food and water consumption, and encourage sluggish eaters by softening their dry food with a little warm water, and providing favourite treats to build them back up to health.

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