This page has been written by the BHPS to give advice and information for members of the public who have found an injured or orphaned hedgehog.
If a hedgehog is out during the day it is generally in trouble, put the hedgehog in a deep sided box and call us for advice.
If it turns out the hedgehog is fine you can release it where you found it. It’s very difficult to help a hedgehog that’s disappeared under the shed or rose bush!
When should I rescue a baby hedgehog and when is it safe to leave it?
When baby hedgehogs (hoglets) are about 4 weeks old they start to venture out of the nest with their mothers. At this age they look like perfect miniatures. Occasionally one of the more adventurous ones may come out of the nest in the day but will be busy searching for food and will then return to the nest – provided he is busy then there is probably nothing to worry about.
However some hoglets whose mother has been killed will venture out of the nest in search of her. They will do this even when newborn. They are likely to be seen out in the day, they may be squeaking (it sounds like a bird but at ground level) and there may be flies around them – they may be single or even three or four close together. These hoglets need rescuing as soon as possible.
Exceptions might be where there is a nest at the top of a slope and perhaps a hoglet has rolled down the slope and cannot return to the nest. In all cases call the British Hedgehog Preservation Society or a local hedgehog rehabilitator for advice – if they are left too long they may get maggots on them, the maggots will eat them alive so do act quickly.
If you make the decision to ‘rescue’ the hedgehog it will need some direct heat. I.e a hot water bottle, fizzy drink bottle or plastic milk carton filled with warm water placed in the box/container that you have put the hedgehog in. Put a cover on the vessel that is holding the warm water I.e
an old t. Towel or t. Shirt so the hedgehog can snuggle into it without burning. Once the hedgehog is warm you can then offer it some food & water, cat or dog food, preferably white meat based. Or a scrambled egg. Do NOT give bread & milk. Keep the hedgehog in the dark and quiet.
This is the time for the late litters to be born and often they are found out in the day, again if they have flies around them, or they look drunk they will need to be bought in. Again they will need to be warmed up slowly and once they look more alert they can be offered food and water.
Because our seasons are not set it is difficult to gauge just when to start bringing in the autumn juveniles. A guide is if they are out in the day , if they are squeaking, if they look drunk, if there are flies around them, if they are ‘sunbathing’. Hedgehogs hibernate when the evening temperatures drop to 4c and below and they need to weigh 600g to survive the winter
hibernation if they are less than this please ring for advice.
It is always best to put them in a box or carrier and ring for advice, you can always let them go, its much more difficult for you to find them should they have walked off.