What do I do if I see a hedgehog and how do I know if it needs help?
Hedgehogs are nocturnal and would very rarely venture out during the day unless it was in trouble somehow.
There are exceptions to this rule.
* Is the hedgehog obviously going somewhere? What we mean by this is that if you spot a hedgehog running along the fence line daytime it might just have been disturbed and should not be picked up.
* Is the hedgehog carrying grass, leaves or similar it is probably just out gathering nesting material and should be left alone.
* With daytime, we do NOT mean dusk or dawn. If your garden is shaded or the weather is overcast please take this into account.
* If the hedgehog is out in full sunlight, is found sunbathing or sleeping in the open, staggering, dragging its legs, screaming, or collapsed they should ALWAYS be brought to the nearest rescue.
* If you find a hedgehog trapped somehow, even if you manage to get it untrapped, it should ALWAYS be brought to a rescue. There might be internal damage that needs to be seen by a professional.
* If there is an obvious injury to the hedgehog it should ALWAYS be brought to a rescue.
Step one is to put the hedgehog in something secure. Remember that hedgehogs are great climbers so something with a lid is best. Unless you are taking it directly to a rescue place try to make sure it has enough room to move around. We have had adult hedgehogs brought to us in very small shoeboxes, something that is not ideal. Make sure that the box is covered so flies can’t get to it. Make sure there are air holes.
Step two is to give it a heat source of some sort. If you don’t have a hot water bottle, a jam jar or a rinks bottle half-filled with hot water and wrapped in a towel will do just fine. Just make sure that it is watertight! Make sure that the hedgehog can move away from the heat source if he/she gets too hot. IF THE HEDGEHOG HAS FLY EGGS ON IT PLEASE DO NOT GIVE IT A SOURCE OF HEAT. Here are two examples of flystrike so you know what to look for.
Step three is to contact your nearest rescue. Please don’t wait before doing this and don’t assume that you can take care of it yourself. As much as there might not be visible injuries to the hedgehog there are so many things that could be wrong and by waiting you might risk the animal's life.
If you want to you can give it some cat or dog food on a plate and some water in a non-tip water bowl.
NEVER feed hedgehogs milk or bread.
In late autumn and winter, any hedgehog smaller than a grapefruit should be brought to a rescue as they will too small to hibernate. If you are not sure about the size, weigh it. Less than 500 grams and it should be brought to a rescue. When in doubt, call and ask!