When to Help Hedgehogs

Probably the most loved of all UK mammals, their low stature and tendency to freeze and roll up in the face of danger leaves them incredibly vulnerable to harm from man-made hazards.

Whilst, as the stereotype suggests, cars are a major threat, the most common injuries they experience come from dogs and strimmers. They also commonly suffer from intestinal parasites which can make them very unwell.


When to rescue #

A hedgehog out during the day
Hedgehogs are generally strictly nocturnal so one out during the day will usually need help, especially if it appears to be ‘sunbathing’ or is inactive. The only exception to this rule is a nesting female who may sometimes come out in daylight to gather nesting materials. If in doubt, contact us or your local hedgehog rescue for advice.

A hedgehog with fly strike on the face

Any hedgehog with an obvious injury
If you can see a wound or injury, the hedgehog will need urgent help.

A hedgehog with maggots or fly eggs on it
Hedgehogs are very prone to fly-strike where flies lay eggs (which look like grains of rice) on them which then hatch into maggots. This is a fatal condition without urgent help.

A hedgehog losing its spines or with crusty skin
Hedgehogs can suffer with mange or ringworm which can make their skin crusty and their spines fall out. This can reduce their defences against predators as well as leave them vulnerable to secondary infections.

Any hedgehog which has been attacked by a dog
It can be really difficult to spot small puncture wounds in between their spines but just one could prove fatal if it gets infected or attracts flies. Always get the hedgehog checked over by a rescue.

A hedgehog caught up in netting or stuck in a drain
The hedgehog will need to be freed and checked for injuries by a rescue.

A hedgehog hit by a car
The hedgehog will need to be checked for injuries by a rescue.


When to take other action #

A lone baby away from its nest
It’s likely the baby may need help but it could also be that Mum dropped the baby while moving it. Observe from a distance and contact a wildlife rescue for advice.

A small hedgehog out in autumn/winter
Hedgehogs need sufficient fat reserves in order to survive hibernation. When they hibernate is variable and it may be possible to get them up to weight with supportive feeding. There’s more information here.


When to leave alone #

A nest of babies with no Mum
It’s normal for Mum to spend time away from the nest. Observe from a distance and contact a wildlife rescue for advice if Mum doesn’t return.

Finding Help #

You can find details of rescues in your area by searching our directory. If you're unsure whether to intervene or you have difficulty finding a rescue who can help, we have information about sources of bespoke help. We also have articles with detailed, practical advice about capturing an animal, providing short term care, contacting a wildlife rescue, and getting the animal to them.

Updated on May 28, 2024