Hedgehog collecting leaves to build a nest – hedgehog nest building

Hedgehog friendly fencing
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I love this video of Trevor collecting leaves for his nest.

This is the middle of Winter but hedgehogs often wake up during milder spells for a bite to eat or to move nests.

It shows that hedgehogs will use hedgehog boxes and how important it is not to tidy your garden in winter but to keep all those lovely Autumn leaves for hedgehogs.

Please read my other blogs for information about how to build a hedgehog box and how to site your hedgehog box. I’ve also got lots of tips on wildlife friendly gardening.

You can also see more about what a hedgehog nest looks like here.

You can also see whether there are hedgehogs in your area and who has created hedgehog holes to link their gardens here.

The hedgehog in the video is Trevor. He spent time in my rescue in Summer 2017 due to an infected abscess. He was released back to the wild after a few weeks of treatment and once the abscess was fully healed. It is wonderful to see him so healthy and happy back in the wild. If you are thinking about buying a wildlife camera, you can read my top tips here.

Wild hedgehog abscess

Trevor when he came into my hedgehog hospital

Trevor healed

Trevor just prior to release with his abscess fully healed. You can see from his pink nose that he is probably a couple of years old.

I run a hedgehog rescue in York, England. My work is entirely self-funded. You can find out more about my work here and also how to support it here.

I make silver jewellery inspired by nature and wildlife to raise funds for my hedgehog hospital. Please visit my online jewellery shop here.

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Disturbed nest, orphaned baby hedgehog hoglets

Hedgehog nest in pile of leaves
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Summer means orphan season and a flurry of calls about abandoned hoglets.

Hedgehog nests are not strong and sturdy, they are frequently just a pile of leaves, in long grass or underneath a large plant. Underneath sheds and decking are also favourite spots.

I received a call after this nest was disturbed by someone raking leaves in their garden.

If a nest is disturbed, mum may kill or abandon the hoglets. Sadly mum did not return for one of the two hoglets.

The best way to prevent this happening is to avoid disturbing a nest in the first place. Learn to love your grass long. Cherish piles of leaves. Put off dismantling the shed.

If you do accidentally disturb a nest, cover it back up straight away.  DO NOT touch the hoglets with your bare hands. Wait and see if mum returns. She may return to the nest or may return and move the nest and babies to another site.

If she does not return and the hoglets are ‘peeping’ or are venturing out of the nest, then they will be in need of rescue.

There is a great page here where you can listen to the sound that hoglets make when they are in distress or hungry (as well as other fascinating hedgehog noises!)

You will find more information about how to find a hedgehog rescue here.

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Hedgehog nest in a pile of leaves

Every year I rescue hoglets that have been abandoned or where something else has happened to mum – she could have been killed on a road or be injured or sick.

Hand rearing hoglets is expert work and you should always seek expert advice from a hedgehog rescue. It is not something to take on without any experience.

This little hoglet is around 11 days old. It can curl up but its eyes are not yet open. It will need hand feeding by syringe until it is able to eat by itself. They are fed a lactose-free formula and will then be gradually weaned onto a puppy mousse when their teeth emerge.

Baby hoglet in hand June 2016

Orphaned hoglet about 11 days old. Her eyes are still closed.

Once it can feed on its own, human contact will be reduced. The aim is for the hoglets to be released back to the wild once they are a suitable age and weight for release.

Pair of baby hoglets by Little Silver Hedgehog

Whole litters may need to be rescued if something has happened to mum

I run a hedgehog rescue in York, England. I have rehabilitated over 350 hedgehogs since 2012. I also work hard to raise awareness of the plight of hedgehogs and how you can help them. My work is entirely self funded. You can support my work by donating or supporting my jewellery, which raises funds for the rescue work.

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Hedgehog courtship behaviour

Wild hedgehogs courting
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It is that wonderful time of year when hedgehogs are courting. You’ll hear them before you see them – they make a really loud ‘huffing’ snorting sound that can keep your neighbours awake at night! Courting generally happens between April and September but, milder weather means that litters are now sometimes being born even in Winter.

David Attenborough sums it all up perfectly

Hedgehogs normally have four to five babies. They stay in the nest for around 4 weeks and then will accompany mum on foraging trips for around a fortnight, before leaving to go off on in their own directions.

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A female hedgehog with her baby on my patio

It is very important to avoid disturbing a hedgehog nest because mum may kill or eat her babies. Avoid garden maintenance, such as removing sheds or outbuildings, during the nesting season. If you do disturb a nest accidentally, cover it straight back up. Do not touch the babies. Check from a distance to see if mum returns. If she does not and you hear ‘peeping’ (like a baby bird noise) from the nest, the babies are in need of rescue. Seek advice from a hedgehog rescue urgently. Do not touch the babies with your bare hands and you need to keep them warm.

I run a hedgehog rescue in York, England. My work is entirely self-funded. To support my work please visit www.littlesilverhedgehog.etsy.com. You can also follow my hedgehog rescue stories at www.facebook.com/littlesilverhedgehog