We felt we needed a specific page for these little creatures! We take many hedgehogs into our care throughout the year, and our hedgehog carer Ava McGregor is also happy to offer advice and assistance with injured, underweight or orphan hedgehogs.
We receive many calls asking for advice and assistance for injured, or orphaned hedgehogs. The very first thing we need you to know is that hedgehogs DO NOT eat milk and bread - this is something many people believe you should put out for them, but it is very bad indeed for them. Hedgehogs cannot digest cow's milk.
If you wish to feed hedgehogs in your garden, foods they enjoy and are suitable for them are:
- Tinned chicken cat food.
- Kitten biscuits (good for their teeth).
- An occasional egg.
- Please note, mealworms - although very tasty for hedgehogs are not good for them. They will prefer these to other foods but are very high in calcium, and can cause metabolic bone disease, something that will only show up often when it is too late for the poor hedgehog.
Stick to the simple foods and just plain water - they will very much appreciate the extra help
Out during the day
If you find a hedgehog out during the day, particularly in the summer, it is likely there is a problem and it will probably need assistance.
If you find baby hedgehogs out and about at any time of the year, they will most certainly need rescuing - they should be in their nest and for some reason this has been disturbed. They will starve if help is not given.
Hedgehogs very rarely bite, but they can. If you need to pick up an adult hedgehog, we recommend you wear gardening gloves or use a towel as their spines are sharp. Most hedgehogs will roll into a ball, but if it is badly injured it may be unable to do this. They do carry fleas and often ticks, so care should be taken handling them, do not spray them will flea spray or try to remove the ticks yourself - please leave these jobs to us.
Hedgehogs need to be up to weight to survive hibernation. Certainly in the North East of Scotland, they need to weigh around 600gms to stand a good chance of hibernating through our severe winters. Hedgehogs do wake up on warmer days, and if disturbed, and it takes a tremendous amount of energy - they will need to feed if they awaken too early.
If they are tiny ones like this - they will need hand-rearing - please call us on (0796) 225 3867. We can take them in and assess them before passing them to our foster carer Ava.
If a hedgehog is under-weight it will need "over-wintering" with an experienced carer.
It is not easy to hand-rear hedgehogs - it is time consuming (feeds are necessary through the night), and sweet as they look - they smell very badly.
These tiny orphans are being hand-reared by Ava. They are all doing very well and putting on weight. They will be released to suitable sites when they are full-grown.
Releasing hedgehogs in your garden
We are often contacted by people who would like to have hedgehogs in their garden. Ava will assess the suitability of your area and garden. Hedgehogs must be able to get out of the garden as they travel miles during the night. It must not be an area populated by badgers or they will be a tasty evening snack for a hungry badger!
Occasionally, we will have a hedgehog that needs a totally secure garden, one that is partially disabled and unable to be returned to the wild. These hedgehogs will need permanent feeding, as your garden will only supply so many grubs and slugs and the food will soon be gone! Please send us your details if you would like to offer a hedgehog a home, either a starting base or a disabled facility.
Please contact us for any further hedgehog information in the first instance; we can either offer assistance here or put you in touch with Ava.
You will find lots of additional useful information at the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.