Hedgehogs In Your Garden
Leave it alone if it looks busy
Even though they are nocturnal, hedgehogs may occasionally pop out during the day. Therefore, it’s worth taking an initial look at the hedgehog to check how active it is. If it looks fairly busy in its movements then leave it be because it’s likely going to eventually find where it needs to go. It may often be the case that pregnant hedgehogs will be out and about in order to build their nests. If you spot a hedgehog looking for a nest or gathering nest material, you may want to invest in a hedgehog house to provide it a place to stay. Even better, you could set up a hedgehog house camera for an insight into its comings and goings.
So in most cases, if it’s an adult-sized hedgehog and it looks well, then you can safely leave it alone to go about its business.
Provide assistance when they’re lying out in the sun
The likelihood of hedgehogs being out and staying outside in the sun is rare and one thing that’s worth flagging when it comes to their health is that if they’re lying out the sun and not attempting to move, it means trouble.
Often, when they’re in this state, it’s likely that they need help perhaps due to having parasites or worms. In this case, it’s best to do what you can to help them out by taking them inside and keeping them warm in a towel or with a hot water bottle in a box. You should get in touch with your local hedgehog rescue to get some advice.
What if they’re injured?
One reason why they might be out in the daylight hours is because they’re injured. Whether they’re dragging one leg or both, that warrants a trip to the vets. It might be that they’ve broken one or both legs. For both legs, it’s more likely to be a spinal injury and so like humans or any other species for that matter, it’s worth placing a stiff piece of card or board under the spine in order to keep it supported while moving it.
A cough coming from the hedgehog can often be a case of lungworm, which is a nasty thing to have. Again, it’s best to get them to a vet as soon as you’re able.
There may be times where you see a hedgehog with cuts on or missing some spines. This is usually due to one of three things: a car has hit them, they’ve been attacked by a dog or they’ve come into contact with a strimmer.
Whatever it is, hedgehogs are good at healing and so if kept clean and dry, they can make a good recovery. It’s worth rescuing them if you can in order to help provide that warmth, dry and clean space that they need whilst they get back to fit health again.
Observe babies outside in the daytime
Hoglets are something to heed a little caution over and to observe them if you were to see one. It’s likely that the mother is close by but you just haven’t seen her. So although it might be tempting to go and pick up the hoglets, leave them be until you’ve assessed the situation fully. It’s important to discover whether or not that the mother is with them before approaching.
Hoglets have a good sense of smell, so try to place yourself downwind to avoid scaring them off. It’s tempting to try and raise baby hedgehogs like you would a baby bird but they are creatures that need very specific handling. So with that said, if you do find hoglets without the mother, then call a professional rescue centre so that they can assist.
They’re caught in something
Just like any other animals, they can often get inquisitive when exploring the area and they may find themselves caught in something or other that they can’t get out of. Due to the spines, it can also make it much more likely that they’d get stuck on something. A rescue centre is worth calling at this point in order for them to help remove the hedgehog safely. If it’s something you can do yourself, then attempt to do it but back down if it becomes too complicated.
The last thing you want is to cause any further risk of harm towards the hedgehog who at this point is likely going to be pretty distressed. Always get the professionals involved in order to cause minimal harm to the hedgehog.
If there’s a skinny hedgehog found in your garden, then it might be that they’ve struggled to eat enough in order to help them hibernate. In that case, they’re on the search for food and that often means going out in the daytime too. If this is the case, then you should weigh the hedgehog if you can. By doing this, you can then offer food if they are underweight.
Once they reach that sweet spot of 600g, then the hedgehog can be on its way. If it isn’t, then again, it’s worth calling the professionals for help.
What if it isn't moving at all?
There’s nothing worse than discovering a hedgehog that looks like it has passed on. However, even though a hedgehog might look deceased, it’s important to warm it up in a box first to check. The reason for this is that often enough sick or injured hedgehogs end up being very cold and still. Every effort made to check that the hedgehog is in fact dead, should be made.
That way, you’ll know for sure whether or not it needs to be disposed of or whether it comes back to life with a new spring in its step.
Again, hedgehogs are nocturnal so it’s often uncommon to see them in the day. However, hopefully with these tips, you’ll be able to spot when your help is needed and when to let them go about their business as usual without assistance.
Check out our tips on how to attract hedgehogs to your garden
For more information on hedgehogs, see our other blogs -