In November last year, I happened upon a tiny hedgehog out foraging. At just over 300g, she was too small to survive the winter so we brought her in so that she could overwinter indoors (see Spending the Winter Indoors). Had we not done so, she would have perished.
Over the first few days, Hoggy put on weight at a phenomenal rate. Now, two months later, she is approaching 800g and so we have to be careful not to let her get fat. Indeed, we have been considering releasing her early. This can be done if the overnight temperatures stay above 5o for a week. In preparation, we have turned her heaters off so can get used to it being a little cooler. I say cooler, but it still averages around 14o in her indoor home, a good 10o warmer than outside.
January has been pretty mild, as it happens, but just not quite warm enough. On top of that, the rain has been relentless so we are now looking at a February release. A deluxe hedgehog house has been purchased so she’ll have good shelter (if she chooses to use it). I’m also repairing the hedgehog feeding station (cat and dog proof) so we can leave her food to help her get established outdoors again.
In the meantime, despite the strong temptation to sit with her on our laps, we handle her as little as possible. We change her bedding regularly and that is the only time we pick her up. It takes much willpower as she is undeniably cute and, for a hedgehog, incredibly tolerant of being handled.