Help a hedgehog

John Hawkins

Jon Hawkins - Jon Hawkins - Surrey Hills Photography

Help a hedgehog

At certain times of year adult hedgehogs may be seen out in daylight, such as when mothers are weaning young or building nests. These hedgehogs will however look purposeful and will only be out for short periods of time. These hedgehogs are best left to their own devices.

A hedgehog that does not look purposeful and is out in the daylight is however likely to be in need of help. If you see a sick or injured hedgehog, it may be in need of urgent help.

What to do next

If you haven't already, contact The British Hedgehog Preservation Society, who can offer in depth advice. 

Our local rescue centre Cuan Wildlife Rescue, near Much Wenlock can also offer advice and will take hedgehogs into their care for rehabilitation. Contact them by phoning: 01952 728070. If you have a critically injured creature outside the period 7am to 10pm, please ring the EMERGENCY mobile number 07731 347998.

Handling and care

Hedgehogs are wild animals, so being handled is a stressful experience. 

Hedgehog

Tom Marshall

Prepare a cardboard box with high sides by lining it with a towel or scrunched up newspaper (so that the hedgehog can hide).

Find yourself a pair of gardening gloves before gently scooping up the hedgehog into the box.

Keep the box in a quiet, warm place: a hot water bottle filled with hot tap water wrapped in a towel can provide a gentle heat source – make sure it doesn’t go cold!

You can provide some fresh water and meaty cat or dog food (not fish based!), but don't try to feed the hedgehog directly.

May - September

If you accidentally disturb a hedgehog nest with babies, re-cover as quickly and quietly as possible. Never touch the babies, as your smell may cause the mother to abandon or eat them. If you suspect they have already been abandoned, leave them for an hour and then very quietly check to see if the mother has returned.

If the mother does not return and the babies become distressed they can be placed in a box with a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel while you seek advice. If you find young carefully check the area thoroughly as there is usually more than one, and can be as many as 5 or 6. Females may be seen in the daylight hours while they are weaning young, it is advisable to check for a nearby nest before removing an adult so not to remove a mother from babies.

October and into Winter

Hibernation is a flexible process and hedgehogs will only begin to hibernate when it is consistently below 10 degrees. It is not unusual to see hedgehogs active when weather is fluctuating between cold and milder weather, and hedgehogs will often move nests mid-winter. Juveniles born late in the season may not have enough fat reserves to survive winter, please monitor any Juvenile that you think may be too small to survive the winter by watching and leaving out food. Ask for help (details above) if you think action is needed

How can you help hedgehogs?

Hedgehogs are found throughout the UK, save a few Scottish islands. Gardens, hedgerows, woodlands, grasslands, parks, and cemeteries are all important hedgehog habitats, and adult hedgehogs travel between 2-3km per night over home ranges between 10-20 hectares in size searching for food and mates – that’s entire housing estates and neighbourhoods!

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