If you see a sick or injured hedgehog at any time of year, or one that is out in daylight, it is in need of urgent help so follow the emergency care advice.

The hedgehog year is fraught with danger. They can suffer from lungworm, dehydration, hypothermia and starvation. Gardeners can, by accident, cause serious injury or even death to hedgehogs.

ALWAYS -

  • Check in rubbish sacks before disposal
  • Check compost heaps before forking or disturbing
  • Move a bonfire before you light it
  • Check overgrown areas before mowing or strimming

 

See also Garden Safety

January

Most hedgehogs should be hibernating and although they may wake for short periods of time during their hibernation, it is unlikely that they will choose to move unless they have been disturbed or the weather has turned extremely mild. Hedgehogs lose around a third of their body weight during the long sleep. If they were underweight when they started they need to keep topping up or they will die before the spring arrives.
Main reasons for rescue: Underweight, lungworm, hypothermia, dehydration, starvation
Those that have been rescued have to be kept awake until they are well and large enough (over 600g) to survive the winter. Babies born in the autumn (autumn juveniles) are often very underweight during this time weighing as little as 120g at 4-6 weeks old.

February

Hedgehogs remain in hibernation as their natural food is still unavailable to them – should you see a hedgehog out and about during February, especially during the day, it’s highly likely to be in need of assistance. If you know you have hedgehogs in your garden, please leave food and water out all during the winter for animals such as these. You could save a life.
Main reasons for rescue: Underweight, lungworm, hypothermia, dehydration, starvation
See what I like to eat

March

Hedgehogs will now be starting to emerge from hibernation having potentially lost 1/3 of their body weight during their rest. They will be extremely thirsty and hungry, food and water are the priorities. Their natural food is still scarce due to the slowly rising temperatures – A shallow dish of meat based cat/dog food, along with a shallow dish of water, put out each night will help them to gain weight
Main reasons for rescue: Dehydration, starvation, injuries.
Early spring warmth begins to bring some hedgehogs out of hibernation. Gardeners beginning to tidy up the winter mess are using mowers, shears, strimmers and forks and this is when many hedgehogs are hurt or killed. See Garden Safety

April

Most hedgehogs are now active and still building up the body fat lost over the winter. They will be on the lookout for suitable nesting sites and for potential mates. You can continue to help them by providing supplementary foods as well as a hedgehog house when a more natural option is not available. Mating usually occurs in late-April. Once mating has taken place the male hedgehog plays no other part in raising the hoglet family.
Main reasons for rescue: Dehydration, starvation, injuries.
The female will often choose to give birth in flower-beds, underneath hedges, underneath sheds, in unused rabbit burrows, in compost heaps and even in bags of rubbish that have been left unattended. See Garden Safety

May

The mating season is now in full swing. If you hear loud snuffling and grunting noises at night in the garden, it may be hedgehogs mating. The male circles round the female, sometimes for hours, trying to persuade her to mate. After mating, the male leaves, taking no part in rearing the young.
Main reasons for rescue: Dehydration, injuries, disturbed nests and orphans
We usually receive our first baby hedgehogs by the end of May and if they come in without their mother, they need constant incubation and round-the-clock hand-rearing on specialist feeds. We do not give milk to any hedgehog. We receive some hedgehogs with horrific injuries. Hedgehogs often snuggle down during the day in long uncut grass or around the borders of lawns.

PLEASE CHECK BEFORE MOWING OR STRIMMING!

June

About four weeks after getting pregnant, the female gives birth to a litter of up to 6 or 7 babies (hoglets), and whilst they are too small to leave the nest, mum goes out foraging in the evening and then returns to feed her young.

Main reasons for rescue: Dehydration, injuries, disturbed nests, orphans, ticks.

We tend to receive hoglets and adults that have had their nests disturbed. We treat old, partially healed and infected injuries as well as recent ones. Most hedgehogs arriving at Snuffles will have ticks but some will be covered in them and suffering from anaemia. This is one of the most costly times for the rescue centre.

July

Once the young hedgehogs reach three to four weeks old they begin to join their mother on her foraging trips, quickly learning what is good to eat but still returning to the nest to take their mother’s milk as well. Although there is often plenty of natural food available, supplementary food and water should be provided at all times, especially during a drought.

Main reasons for rescue: Dehydration, injuries, disturbed nests, orphans, ticks.

Lots of calls for advice and many for rescue of sick, injured and orphaned hedgehogs, sometimes entire families and often multiple animals coming in the same day.

PLEASE CHECK BEFORE MOWING OR STRIMMING!

August

This is often the month when many hedgehogs are hit by cars as they go off to find new gardens. The young hedgehogs become independent of their mother and wander off on their own. As hedgehogs live solitary lives, they are unlikely to encounter their siblings again.

Main reasons for rescue: Dehydration, injuries, disturbed nests, orphans, ticks.

We receive lots of calls for advice and/or rescue of sick, injured and orphaned hedgehogs. We continue to release successfully treated and fit animals but NEVER during a dry period. There is often such a lack of natural food and water during this time that more hedgehogs actually die of thirst and hunger than those that die on the roads.

PLEASE CHECK BEFORE MOWING OR STRIMMING!

September

Mature females may have mated for a second time by September. With their natural diet becoming scarcer in the autumn, late litters will struggle to gain the fat reserves necessary for hibernation and may require human intervention for survival.

Main reasons for rescue: Dehydration, injuries, disturbed nests, orphans, ticks.

We are taking in many sick, injured and orphaned hedgehogs. Hoglets born at this time may or may not be large enough, or have enough weight, to survive the oncoming winter and so the first "Autumn Juveniles" appear at the rescues. Hedgehogs start to take on board as much food as they can so that they are a good weight before winter sets in. Supplementary food is extremely welcome.

PLEASE CHECK BEFORE MOWING OR STRIMMING!

October

As the weather gets colder mature hedgehogs will continue to feed as much as possible and begin building their nests in preparation for their winter hibernation, which can start by late October. Supplementary food provided in your garden in a feeding station is extremely welcome.

Main reasons for rescue: Dehydration, emaciation, injury, underweight, dog attack.

Babies and juveniles will not have enough fat reserves to survive hibernation. Any hedgehog weighing under 600g needs to be checked over by a rescue and may well need to be cared for throughout the winter months.

November

Most hedgehogs will have begun to hibernate during November and will normally remain in this state until March of the following year.

Main reasons for rescue: Bonfire night

The two weeks either side of the 5th November are the most hazardous in the whole year for all wildlife but in particular sleepy hedgehogs. Huge piles of wood and sticks make very inviting places to make a nest and this results in a lot of burned hedgehogs that arrive with us having been cooked alive.
The message here is simple-

PLEASE CHECK ANY BONFIRES BEFORE YOU LIGHT!

December

When there is a sudden cold snap, mum will often go into hibernation and the little ones come out one by one looking for help. If you find any baby hedgehogs, please do not attempt to rear them yourself as these babies will be compromised and need specialist care. They go downhill extremely fast and need the correct medication on hand. Call your local rescue centre immediately.

Main reasons for rescue: Underweight, lungworm,, dehydration, orphans.

In theory, from December to April should be a quiet period, for us but we have many hedgehogs being cared for over the winter months. We are still taking in hedgehogs suffering from lungworm, enteritis, emaciation and poisoning as well as seeing more and more late born babies.

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