Hedgehogs are one of Britain’s few mammal species that hibernate when temperatures are consistently low heading towards a sheltered spot to spend the winter in.
Hibernation is a state of inactivity where animals lower their body temperatures and metabolisms and slow their heart rates and breathing so that they can survive the winter without eating for several months, when food is limited. Hedgehogs can however, on warmer days, wake up and forage for extra food and to go to the toilet with their bodies cleverly adapted to wake up if temperatures are dropping so low that they are at risk of freezing. So, don’t be immediately be alarmed if you see a hedgehog out and about in the winter. If a hedgehog seems to be moving about with purpose and looks healthy and plump, it is likely to just be taking the opportunity for a quick toilet break or a foraging trip.