Friday, 15 May 2009

In which someone nearly hibernates.

I had such a worry last night - I got Yona out for a play, and she was curled really tightly in a ball. She normally huffs at me when I get her out, but she was silent. Her quills twitched when I touched her, so I knew she was alive, but she just wouldn't uncurl.

I remembered the advice that had been given on the UK Pygmy Hogs forum to Snuffles Mummy when Snuffles wouldn't uncurl, so I got a hot water bottle, wrapped it in a jumper so she wouldn't get burned, and popped Yona on the hot water bottle.

I took her into bed with me, so she was on a hot water bottle, cuddled by me, under the duvet. And we stayed like that for a couple of hours.

There was a bit of progress at midnight - I was stroking the quills at the back of her neck, and she lifted her head. I managed to get her to spread out a little so I could put her tummy on the hot water bottle - I was able to touch her belly and it felt cold. It was horrible to see her at that point - her nose is normally really twitchy, never stops moving, but she was really still, and her mouth was open a bit. Her eyes were half open, and she'd cover them with her quills if I got too close, or I lifted the duvet, so I knew she was responding to light. But she was so still; it was like looking at a little dead creature.

And then we stayed like that for a little longer, and I have to confess I dropped off to sleep.

I woke up at half twelve, and looked under the duvet. And these little eyes stared back at me, and there was a big huff, and she burrowed under the duvet. I couldn't believe it! I played with her a bit, and she was totally back to normal - munched some mealies, and climbed all over me. I'd really thought I was going to lose her, and she was just fine!

I kept her with me for a bit, and then put her back in her hutch with the hot water bottle - she played on her wheel, did some good big poops, and ate some food. This morning she was fine - a bit huffy at being woken up, but then just as playful and adventurous as ever.

So the heating in my room is really high, and I'm going to keep a close eye on her - the temperature in Yorkshire has dropped a bit over the last couple of days, and I think it was enough to provoke false hibernation. I'm just glad I caught it in time!


  1. Hi Earwig - Annichka here - I just discovered your blog! What a fun read! I know so little about hedgehogs. I have worked as a vet technician for 5 years and seen just one hedgehog the whole time. I was looking at your pics of Yona - will she get any bigger than that?

  2. How can you tell if she's not well or if she's really hibernating?

  3. The African Pygmy hogs shouldn't hibernate - they can die within a couple of days if they do. They're not like the British wld ones that hibernate, they don't have the fat reserves.