Have you found a hedgehog that may need help?

Tom Marshall

For general advice about hedgehog welfare please contact the British Hedgehog Preservation Society | info@britishhedgehogs.org.uk | 01584 890801. There is a lot of useful advice on the rehabilitators section of this website.

Local carers

These local carers may be able to take sick and injured hedgehogs, but they are often working at capacity. Please call to check. Please also be aware they are all self funded and any support you can offer, be that financial, time or materials is always very warmly received. 

Suffolk Prickles | for telephone advice on hedgehog care | Paula Baker 07469 177090| suffolkprickleshedgehogrescue@gmail.com - visit their website here.

Hedgehog Haven |Colchester | Liz - 07847 138372

Advice

Suffolk Hedgehog Rescue offers some advice about what to do if you've found a sick 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.

Place the hedgehog in a high sided box with a towel or soft blanket. If the hedgehog does not have fly-strike place a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel inside the box. It is vital to keep the hedgehog warm if they are unwell. Alternatively you can also use a bottle of hot water, wrapped in a towel. Please also ensure that the hedgehog has room to move away from the heat if needed. Offer a dish of water and dog or cat food, but never attempt to force the animal to eat or drink, place a towel or old net curtain over the box to stop flies from getting in, then phone your nearest rescue centre and arrange to visit it and deliver the hedgehog for assistance. Never keep a hedgehog - it is likely to become more poorly in captivity without the right treatment. Please remember that many rescues are not full time and that the people who run them do so on a voluntary basis between their paid employment.


Between end of May and September:


If you accidentally disturb a hedgehog nest with babies, recover 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. Babies in distress peep like a fire alarm. 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. Please weigh them in grams so accurate advice can be given when you seek it.


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.


In 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. Females will often stay active for longer than males, as they need to build up more fat reserves post breeding.
Juveniles born late in the season may not have enough fat reserves to survive winter. Ensuring there are good nesting sites and supplementary feeding opportunities in your garden can help them gain weight quickly. Please monitor any Juvenile that you think may be too small to survive the winter by watching, leaving out food.


Action for autumn juveniles is only needed if the weather has become consistently cold and there are no feeding and nesting opportunities for them to fatten themselves up. Contact your local rescue centre if you think action is needed - it may need capturing in a box and delivering to the centre, but always contact a centre first.
 

For more information about hedgehog ecology see our Hedgehog Factfile