Not all hedgehogs you see will be in trouble and need help but if in doubt get in touch with your local hedgehog rescue or vet. Any local vet will take in the animal and treat it under their RCVS Code of Practice.
Once you have determined the hedgehog needs help please read our Emergency Care page and follow the guidance
If you have found a baby (hoglet) or young hedgehog (juvenile) with an injury contact your local vet or hedgehog rescue immediately.
Under NO circumstances try to feed them milk.
If you find a nest without the mum present do not disturb the nest but call your local hedgehog rescue or your local vet immediately. If the babies have been abandoned or their mum has died they could die within hours.
Sometimes the nest has already been disturbed and mum has gone or been killed. If you think this might be the case keep a close eye on the nest to see if she returns. If there is no sign within a couple of hours and the babies are making noises, wear gloves and place the entire nest in a cardboard box and get them to a rescue or vet immediately.
Do not try to rear them yourself as they need specialist care.
Rescue the hedgehog when..........
It is out during the day and appears to be sunbathing
Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, sleeping during the day and foraging for food from late evening through to early morning. They only come out during the day if there is a problem. Any hedgehog found out during daylight should be medically checked.
It is wobbly and unsteady on its feet
A wobbling hedgehog that looks a bit drunk is usually a sign that it is dehydrated and requires fluid, warmth and specialist care. It isn’t something you can treat yourself.
It is asleep away from or out of its nest
Hedgehogs sleep and hibernate in specially built nests. If you find one lying in the middle of a garden or path, assume they are ill and take them to an expert as soon as possible.
You see a single baby hedgehog (Hoglet)
Baby and juvenile hedgehogs live in family groups in nests. Tiny babies will only leave a nest if there is a problem. Young hedgehogs will make a very shrill, loud, call if they are in distress. It sounds like an indoor smoke alarm or a high pitched manic duck.
If you find one, please do not try to look after it yourself as babies die very quickly and need specialist feeds. You need to follow the emergency care procedure and contact your local rescue or vet immediately as specialist help is needed.
Under NO circumstances try to feed them milk as hoglets need special baby hedgehog milk.
It has been hit by a car
Hedgehogs are often hit by cars, and can suffer a variety of injuries. They must have medical assistance immediately. Take the animal to your nearest vet even this is out of hours.
Its leg appears damaged or is dragging
Fractured legs are easily treated by a vet who is familiar with hedgehog care. An injured leg can be successfully treated without amputation or euthanasing.
It looks undernourished and underweight
Hedgehogs need to be above 600grams with at least 20% body fat to survive hibernation, any animal under this weight will need to be housed indoors for the whole of the Winter. Specialist advice and guidance is needed.
It is dragging both hind legs
This can indicate a spinal injury. Handle the hedgehog very carefully. If possible carefully slide a board or stiff piece of card underneath it and contact a local rescue centre or vet immediately.
It has open wounds
These can become infected by parasites (fleas, fly eggs or ticks) very quickly and will not heal without assistance. Urgent attention is required as the hedgehog will be suffering from physical shock
It is caught in netting
Do not try and remove the netting but contact your local vet or hedgehog rescue centre immediately. The net must be removed by a specialist because there may be further complications.
It appears dead
The hedgehog may be asleep, sick or hibernating so please do not dispose of the body until you are sure. Contact your local vet or rescue centre immediately.
It appears to be having a seizure
The main cause of this symptom is a head injury or the hedgehog has eaten a poisonous substance such as slug pellets or a slug that has been poisoned.
It is running around in circles
You come across a hedgehog that appears to be chasing its tail (running in circles). This can be a sign of a head injury or ear infection. It needs immediate urgent attention
You see small white bits on the hedgehog
This may be an infestation of fly eggs. These hedgehogs require urgent attention as the eggs will need to be removed before they hatch into maggots. The maggots will eat the hedgehog alive.
It is squealing
This is a hedgehog that is in severe pain. Hedgehogs are wild animals and all of their natural instincts are to keep quiet so they don’t alert predators. They will only squeal if they are in great pain and need immediate medical attention.
Leave the hedgehog alone when..........
Leave a hedgehog alone when it is moving around in a purposeful manner. This could happen between May and September when a female hedgehog has given birth and is taking a break from the nest or sometimes a pregnant female will take a break from the nest or she might be nest building during the day.
View a video here.
It is in its nest
Hedgehogs sleep all day in their nests. Please do not disturb them.
The hedgehog might nest in bushes, leaf piles and compost
It looks a healthy weight and is not injured
Leave it alone it will hibernate when it is ready in the winter. If you wish to help it, you can put out food and water each day. See What I Like to Eat.
It appears to have made a nest in your shed or garage
If it's not in any danger and it's not causing you any problems, then leave it where it is. Make sure it can get in and out by itself, look for holes or gaps. If it's been trapped then please supply a shallow dish of water then call a rescue for advice. Do not feed it until it has been checked out.