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Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs should be handled with thick gloves, their spines can hurt and they may bite. Once you have established that a hedgehog is in need of assistance, pick it up and put it in a cardboard box with newspaper and an old towel. You could also add a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel, (or any plastic bottle filled with warm water), to the box; as direct warmth will help an animal that is suffering from shock.  The hedgehog should then be taken to a wildlife hospital as soon as possible.

When to assist

The hedgehog is out during
the day
Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, sleeping during the day and foraging for food at night.  They will only come out during the day if there is a problem.  Any hedgehog found out during daylight should be taken to a wildlife hospital.

The hedgehog is asleep away from its nest
Hedgehogs only sleep and hibernate in specially built nests. If you find one lying in the middle of a garden or path, assume they are ill and take them to a wildlife hospital as soon as possible.

A single orphan after surveillance
Juvenile hedgehogs live in family groups in nests.  Tiny babies will only leave a nest if there is a problem.  Young hedgehogs will make a very shrill, loud, call if they are in distress.

The hedgehog has been
hit by a car
Hedgehogs are often hit by cars, and can suffer a variety of injuries, they must have medical assistance immediately.

A leg appears damaged
Fractured legs are easily treated, take the hedgehog to your local wildlife hospital as soon as possible.

Hedgehog is under 600 grams during severely cold winter weather
Hedgehogs need at least 20% body fat to survive hibernation, any animal under this weight will need to be housed indoors for the whole of the Winter.

 

Dragging both hind legs
This can indicate a spinal injury, handle the hedgehog very carefully and take to a wildlife hospital as soon as possible.

Hedgehog has open wounds
These can become infected and will not heal without assistance.

The hedgehog is caught in netting Do not release.
Take to a wildlife hospital immediately, complete with the net.  They must be cut out, and will need to stay in hospital for at least seven days' observation, in case of further complications.

N.B.  To help hedgehogs, always ensure nets are at least 20cm off the ground so that they do not get caught in them.

Any "apparent" orphan showing an injury
Any young hedgehog that has an injury, or is out during the day, should be taken to a wildlife hospital.

When to leave alone

When the hedgehog is
in its nest
Hedgehogs sleep all day in their nests.  Please do not disturb them.

Hedgehog is over 600 grams in weight and not injured during the winter
Leave it alone it will hibernate when it is ready.

"Apparent" orphans in
the nest
Never disturb a nest of babies, the mother may abandon them if you do, and they will have to be artificially reared.  They are far better off with their mothers, who can rear them more successfully than humans can.