Hedgehogs make unique pets not only because of their distinguishing features but also their behaviours. Hedgehogs are known to forage through the night, searching for food and exploring. Apart from this, some people want to know whether hedgehogs burrow or not.
Burrowing is a behaviour that is observed in most animals so what about hedgies?
Yes, like most animals, hedgehogs do burrow. Hedgehogs burrow and can dig holes in the ground that are up to 20 inches deep.
You will always find hedgehogs on the ground and never on trees. While some hedgehogs burrow, others also like to build nests on the ground. Hedgehogs do not live entirely underground but stay there for some time.
Why Do Hedgehogs Burrow?
Many people wonder about the burrowing habit of a hedgehog. Why do they burrow? Burrowing is a hedgehog’s instinct. Whether they are in the wild or are pets, all hedgehogs are burrow because it comes naturally to them.
In the wild, hedgehogs burrow to make a safe place for themselves to sleep. Hedgehogs sleep a lot and spend most of their day sleeping. These tiny mammals sleep up to 18 hours a day.
While some hedgies in the wild choose to burrow, others prefer making a nest on the ground using vegetation and moss. When hedgehogs are only three weeks old, they begin burrowing. From this young age to the time where they mature into adults, hedgehogs become perfect burrowers.
Whether a hedgehog will burrow or build a nest depends on the climate of the place it resides in. As the winter season approaches, more and more hedgehogs burrow. Burrowing gives the hedgehogs a space to hibernate and to block out cold.
Hedgehogs need to stay warm during the cold months of winter.
Hedgehogs are solitary animals; it is unlikely that they will ever share a burrow. However, female hedgehogs are found in burrows with their hoglets.
A burrow is a temporary place for hedgehogs, and they do not prefer to stay in there for a long time. Hedgehogs shift from burrow to burrow and would stay there only for a night or two. If there is hibernation season, then hedgehogs would stay in the burrow until they are done hibernating.
A female hedgehog would stay in the burrow until her babies are weaned off and ready to enter the real world.
Do Hedgehogs Dig Holes in Gardens?
One of the most common places where hedgehogs burrow is in gardens. This is because hedgehogs need to remain warm, which is why you will often notice holes in your garden. For example, a hedgehog has likely burrowed underneath if there is a huge pile of compost leaves in your garden.
Hedgies burrow at the bottom of trees. Hedgehogs also tend to burrow under garden sheds. Apart from burrowing holes for themselves, hedgehogs also use burrows that other animals have made, such as rabbits.
Apart from burrowing, hedgehogs will dig holes in gardens as they search for food. Hedgehogs are experts at digging, and to look for worms and insects in the ground, they dig the soil.
Mostly mature hedgehogs dig holes in gardens while the younger ones eat from the surface.
Is It Normal for Pet Hedgehogs to Burrow?
As aforementioned, since burrowing comes naturally to them, even pet hedgies will try to burrow. Do not worry, though, because they will not ruin your house by digging holes.
Pet hedgehogs burrow like the ones in the wild.
As hedgehogs burrow, it is important to keep a lot of bedding in your hedgehog’s cage. The hedgehog will burrow because of the bedding. Therefore, burrowing means that your hedgehog is healthy, and it is something that you should encourage.
Apart from helping a hedgie burrow, the bedding also allows it to make a nest.
In the wild, hedgehogs make nests or burrow to keep themselves warm. It is important to provide them with the necessary bedding in their cage to burrow or nest. When deciding which bedding to get for your hedgehog, you should pick the best-quality one.
It is best to avoid bedding made from wood chips as this can harm your hedgehog and injure it due to its sharp nature. The ideal bedding should also have a low dust content so your hedgehog does not develop any allergies.
While burrowing is a sign of a healthy hedgehog, it can also be alarming. When hedgehogs burrow in the wild, they do so mostly when it is time to hibernate. Therefore, your hedgehog may exhibit behaviours indicating that it is about to hibernate when it begins to burrow.
While hibernation is a survival trait and essential for wild hedgehogs, it can be dangerous for those kept as a pet.
A pet hedgehog does not have the ideal fat content needed for it to hibernate. If you think that your hedgehog is about to hibernate, you should slowly adjust the room’s temperature so it stops. Hibernation for pet hedgehogs can cause them to die.
Burrowing is an instinct that comes naturally to all hedgehogs. Whether in the wild or captivity, hedgies burrow. If your pet hedgehog burrows, it only means that it is healthy, and you should encourage it more.
Hedgies burrow due to many reasons, one of the main being hibernation. When the winter months are here, hedgies burrow and stay underground until the end of the hibernation period.
After that, most hedgies will dig to find a warm place to stay at night. As hedgehogs are not territorial, they do not stay in a burrow for a long time.
Hedgehogs are solitary animals, and therefore you will rarely find any two in one dig. Mother hedgehogs are found in burrows with their hoglets. Hedgehogs burrow under trees and garden sheds.
Pet hedgehogs also burrow, but it can also be an indication that they are about to hibernate. If you think your hedgehog will hibernate, you should increase the room temperature.