When a Hedgehog Needs Help...
Found a hedgehog?
- Is it out during the day?
- Is it wobbly?
- Is it under 600g or very small in late autumn?
- Is is a hoglet/baby? (If so look for others in the area)
If yes to any of the above or you are unsure please contact us immediately for advice.
We do where possible return hedgehogs to the location where they were found, details relating to this will be taken and discussed when the animal is admitted.
When You’re Unsure We’re Here to Help!
Hedgehogs which present injured, lifeless, screaming or have fly eggs (look like clumps of tiny grains of rice) require URGENT attention, please phone or take the animal to the nearest rescue or vet IMMEDIATELY. Any local vet should take in wildlife and treat for free under their RCVS Code of Practice. With flystrike time is of the essence as if left even overnight, particularly if placed on heat, the fly eggs will develop into maggots which will literally eat the hedgehog alive.
When to Rescue or Leave a Hedgehog Alone?
There are many instances where a hedgehog does not need to be rescued and should be left alone, if you are unsure please seek advice.
Please call 07926 576 164 or 01637 831 299 for advice, or click here to ask a question.
What to do when…
Out During the Daytime
Hedgehogs are nocturnal so should not be out during daylight hours, they should come out late evening to forage through till early in the morning. Out in the day is usually a sign of ill health. The only exception (although we would still advise talking to a rescue for further detail and advice) may be an adult female who has hoglets and is foraging or moving nest material – she would be moving with purpose (not stationary at all) through the months of May to August.
Small hoglets can be found wandering outside of the nest if there is a problem. They make high pitched squeaking noises. If found please do not handle, observe from a distance to establish if mum is nearby and only pick up if there is a direct threat to the hoglet/s. Seek a rescues advice if a nest is disturbed and DON’T HANDLE – often mum will return. Please do not try and look after hoglets yourself they require specialist feeds and care, they need to get to a rescue immediately, the key thing during transport to a rescue is to keep them warm.
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE TRY TO FEED THEM MILK, OR SYRINGE LIQUIDS INTO THE MOUTH
Hedgehogs can receive a wide range of injuries, including internal injuries, due to traffic collisions or even just being rolled from the force of a car passing by. In these cases immediate care is essential.
Any signs of bleeding or dragging of limbs and the hedgehog needs to be seen by a vet or a rescue. Vets may need to amputate limbs, however we would advise consulting with a rescue as their knowledge on this area is often greater.
Dog attacks need to be check over as puncture wounds can be hard to identify between the prickles or on the underside and usually become infected, the animal is also likely to be suffering from shock requiring urgent attention.
It is not uncommon for a hedgehog to have a few ticks, if it is covered in ticks then it may be an indication that something else is wrong. Please do not try and remove the ticks yourself, there are tick borne diseases and many removal methods are not suitable, only tick hooks should be used, do not smother in Vaseline or any other substance. Commonly hedgehogs with high tick burdens require an anaesthetic to access the underside if there are many, they may also require a course of antibiotics depending on the circumstance.
Small for Time of Year
If a hedgehog is below 600g in early winter (October onwards) they are unlikely to be able to hibernate successfully and will need to be overwintered by a rescue. Please do not try to overwinter individuals, the stress of being brought into captivity can trigger a dramatic increase in the internal parasite burden and after a few weeks their condition will deteriorate dramatically, almost all hedgehogs have a low level background burden which must be treated before they are allowed to hibernate. This needs to be diagnosed via a faecal sample and the specific parasites identified can be treated accordingly. There is NO general wormer that can be used.
Entrapments & Entanglements
DO NOT RELEASE!!! Although an individual may appear uninjured they can develop a condition called Constriction Necrosis several days after the entanglement and require a minimum of 7 days observation at a rescue. Similarly with animals that have been trapped in drains, garages, enclosed areas etc. Although they may appear healthy, they will need a check over as most will be dehydrated and weak as well as have worn down claws from scrabbling to escape.
In cases of mothers and hoglets and nest disturbances we advise speaking to a rescue before picking them up so they can determine if it is necessary and talk you through the process.
How to Pick Up a Hedgehog
Wear thick gardening gloves or use a towel to lift the hedgehog into a deep sided box or a cat carrier with some newspaper or a towel as bedding and cover. Ensure the box is DEEP sided to prevent escape – they are very good climbers and strong enough to push lids up that aren’t weighted. It is important to keep the hedgehog in the dark and quiet but also warm, as this will help with the shock of being picked up. A hot water bottle can be placed under or in half the box, alternatively a drinks bottle can be filled with warm water. It is important to ensure that the hedgehog can come off the heat if it wants to.