As a nation, we Brits are immensely fond of our gardens and the wonderful wildlife they attract. In fact, we're so enamoured with preserving and nurturing nature that our company, East Coast Fencing, is dedicated to promoting the ideal sanctuary for both plants and critters alike. In this blog post, we'll discuss the fascinating topic of hibernating wildlife, explore its mysteries, and how as DIY enthusiasts, we can be more conscious of these sleepy friends in our own backyards.

What is Hibernation?

Hibernation is a deep sleep that enables wildlife to conserve their energy and survive the winter season. During this time, their metabolism, heart rate, and body temperature drop significantly to preserve their fat reserves. In the UK, various species undergo hibernation, including bats, hedgehogs, squirrels, and even some butterflies and bees.

Signs of Hibernating Wildlife in Your Garden

Here are some common signs that suggest you have hibernating wildlife in your garden:

1. Abandoned Nests or Dens

Keep an eye out for nests or dens that appear suddenly empty or unused. For example, squirrels often create large nests (known as dreys) in tree branches using twigs, leaves, and tender bark. In the colder months, they retreat indoors to dens within tree cavities or buildings instead.

2. Disturbed or Partially Eaten Food Sources

Late-autumn foragers like dormice and hedgehogs may leave behind partially eaten fruits, nuts or insects, so take note of any chewed hazelnuts or neglected blackberries in your garden.

3. Increased Night-time Rustling

From October to December, species such as hedgehogs and badgers are busily vigilant at dusk, completing final preparations for their winter slumber. You may hear rustling sounds or spot them toddling along at night, searching for bedding or food.

4. Overwintering Butterfly Clusters

Some species of British butterflies, like the Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell, overwinter in hidden clusters, often beneath loose tree bark or within garden sheds. Although they aren't true hibernators, they are dormant during this period.

How to Support Hibernating Wildlife

It's essential to take care when maintaining your garden throughout autumn and winter, as to not disturb these resting creatures. Here's how we can help:

  • Avoid using pesticides or insecticides, as many species rely on these insects as a food source.
  • Create a wildlife-friendly garden by adding shelter spots like log piles, bird boxes, and hedgehog homes, using products from East Coast Fencing.
  • Leave a shallow water dish for drinking and don't forget to check it after frosty nights.
  • Resist the urge to clean up all fallen leaves and branches – they offer essential hiding places and insulation during winter.


We hope you find this guide on signs of hibernating wildlife helpful and informative. Let's use our DIY skills and knowledge to foster a safe, supportive environment for our furry and fluttery friends.