Helping sick or injured hedgehogs

Hedgehogs out in daylight need rescue
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Hedgehogs out in the day are in need of help

Hedgehogs are nocturnal and should not be out in the day. A hedgehog out in the day is in urgent need of rescue. Hedgehogs never sunbathe.

Don’t delay, the faster you act, the greater the chance of saving the hedgehog. Speed in getting help is particularly important if the hedgehog is collapsed/not moving or is shaking/wobbling when walking.

What to do.

  1. Pick it up with thick gloves on.
  2. Contain the hedgehog in something with very high sides. Plastic recycling boxes from the Council are excellent. It may climb out of anything with lower sides.
  3. Place it somewhere warm. This is vital if the hedgehog feels cold to the touch or is shaking/wobbling.
  4. Fill a hot water bottle or a leak-proof drinks bottle with hot water.

Don’t use boiling water. Wrap the bottle in an old towel and place it at the bottom of the box. Then place the hedgehog onto the heat and cover it with an old towel or fleece. It is vital to make sure that there is room for the hedgehog to move away from the heat source. Keep checking on the bottle to make sure it is warm – if it gets too cold it will take heat away from the hedgehog.

5. Offer a shallow dish of water. Don’t offer food. I know it is tempting but this can kill a starving dehydrated hedgehog.

You can make a basic rehydration fluid to offer instead of water:

1 litre warm water with 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Then offer in a shallow dish.

6. Get some help. Caring for poorly hedgehogs is a specialist task. Don’t be tempted to try and care for it yourself without seeking advice.

If you have found a baby hedgehog/nest of baby hedgehogs do not touch them with bare hands. Always wear gloves. Seek urgent advice before picking up the babies – a hedgehog rescue can advise whether they are likely to have been abandoned or whether mum may come back.

Finding a hedgehog rescue

You can find details of hedgehog/wildlife rescues from the following:

www.helpwildlife.co.uk – the site also has more useful advice on what to do if you find sick/injured wildlife.

For hedgehogs in York, you can get in touch with me via my contact page. The RSPCA in York is also great with hedgehogs. Call their 24 hour national line on 0300 1234 999 when the Landing Lane branch is closed for help with a sick or injured hedgehog.

A specialist hedgehog rescue is the best option but if you cannot find anyone else and especially if the hedgehog looks to be in pain/injured or is shaking/wobbling, take it to a vet. Most vets will treat wildlife for free.

Hedgehogs feeding in garden

Healthy hedgehogs will only be seen at night

I run a hedgehog rescue in York. My work is entirely self funded. You can read more about my work here. You can find out more about how to support my work here.

I also make silver jewellery inspired by nature and wildlife to raise funds to support the hedgehog hospital. You can visit my online jewellery shop here.

Handmade silver nature jewellery by little silver hedgehog

Handmade silver nature jewellery by little silver hedgehog

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25 thoughts on “Helping sick or injured hedgehogs

  1. I found a hedgehog yesterday in my garden! It’s made a nest of sticks along side one of the walls and behind a bush but it’s still reasonably open to the elements (and cats) so I’ve started building a hedgehog house today. The hog was there yesterday and ate all of the food I put out last night but today it’s not in the nest – would they usually have more than one nest to sleep in or do you think it might have moved on? I will put more food out tonight and tomorrow, with the hedgehog house and hopefully it will stick around. Any tips appreciated 🙂

    • Great news you have a hedgehog visitor! They do move around between nests especially at this time of year and before the nesting season (for mums and babies). Check out my posts on making the garden hedgehog friendly and what to feed. If you leave out food and water every day it should stick around. I also have a post with advice about where to site the house. Good luck and hope it brings its friends! 🙂

  2. @fabrikatie

    Thanks for the article, particularly the helpwildlife.co.uk link. I found their information on “vermin” really informative.

  3. Hi there, Great tips by the way and thank you.

    I did have a question though. I’m hoping you can answer it for me since you seem to be pretty knowledgeable about gardening.

    What’s the best herbicide to kill a garden full of various types of plants?
    I’m trying to get rid of weeds without damaging
    my vegetables. If you had some insight I would greatly appreciate it.

    • So lovely to hear from you. Unfortunately I garden the old fashioned way and I hoe out the weeds/pick them out by hand so not sure of anything that would kill weeds without being harmful to animals. I use organic sprays to treat things like blackfly but I am pretty sure that all weedkillers are harmful unfortunately 😦

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