Wild info: hibernating animals

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Some wildlife goes into a deep sleep to survive the cold winter months.

With food scarce and temperatures plummeting, it is no surprise that many species prefer to remain dormant through the winter. 

Hedgehogs. Photo by Gillian Day.

Hedgehogs will often stop visiting a garden as winter approaches if there is no place for them to hibernate.

Bats. Photo by Amy Lewis.

Bats need a hibernaculum that remains at a consistent temperature through the winter.

Dormice. Photo by Ian Pratt.

Dormice will build a winter hibernation nest at or below ground level. 



Insects. Photo by Gabrielle Horup

Some species of butterfly, such as yellow brimstone and small tortoiseshell, hibernate as adults. Brimstones choose dense ivy for shelter whereas the tortoiseshell likes cool sheds and outbuildings. 

Amphibians. Photo by Tom Marshall

All amphibians hibernate through the cold months. Some choose to shelter at the bottom of a garden pond, digging into the mud. Most prefer piles of damp leaves or logs.

Reptiles. Photo by Amy Lewis

All British reptiles hibernate during winter to protect themselves from the cold weather. Adders, slow-worms, and grass snakes will often choose to hibernate in compost heaps.


Plant a wildflower meadow

Bernwood Meadow. Photo by Wendy Tobitt.

Plant your own wildflower meadow and provide a haven for bees and butterflies in your garden.

Find out how to create and manage a wildflower meadow.

Dig a pond

Dig a pond

Ponds support a greater diversity of wildlife than any other garden habitat. Find out how to create your own pond, whatever the size of your garden.

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Bee by Gilliane Sills

Bumblebees and honey bees are declining in the UK, endangering the food chains that depend on them. We can all help reverse this trend.

Find out how