Saving hedgehogs from extinction

Without drastic action hedgehogs will become extinct within 20 years. This is a critical time for the species – hedgehogs need our help.

Hedgehogs raise two litters of hoglets each year, one in the summer and another in the autumn.

Hoglets born in the autumn are at particular risk, as they need to gain sufficient body weight to survive hibernation through the winter. Without enough body fat, the hoglets will starve.

Underweight hedgehogs will often be found in gardens, and need immediate care if they are going to survive. Any hedgehog that is active in the day, particularly if it is small, is almost certainly in danger.

If you find a hedgehog in your garden during the day, please take it indoors (using gloves or other hand protection) and administer hedgehog first aid then call us or your local hedgehog rescue centre.

How SYAR helps South Yorkshire’s hedgehogs

SYAR takes in underweight baby hedgehogs and injured adult hedgehogs and provides care and veterinary treatment to prepare the animals for return to the wild.

We provide care both at our permanent centre and through a small network of specialist hedgehog ‘carers’. We take hedgehogs from across South Yorkshire and are the only charity in the region that provides such care.

The hoglets that come to us are generally a few weeks old, and between 80 grams and 120 grams. At this weight the hoglet will be about the size of a tennis ball, when curled up. Their weight is important as hoglets under 500 grams will not survive hibernation, and will starve during winter.

We sometimes get very young babies, who are still blind and have not yet been weaned off their mother’s milk. These require hand feeding every 2-3 hours.

The key to survival for underweight hoglets is the speed with which they can be given treatment. The sooner they get care, the better chance they have of survival. If you have found a hedgehog, please administer hedgehog first aid as soon as possible. Then please call us or your local hedgehog care centre.

The most urgent need for underweight baby hedgehogs is warmth – low body fat means less insulation, and when they are too cold they will not eat. Next the hoglet needs hydration, so water is provided (not cow’s milk, which is actually harmful for hedgehogs). Once warm and hydrated the hedgehogs will feed on the specialist food we provide.

Ways to save hedgehogs

Even if you don’t find a hedgehog in distress there is a lot you can do to help save them.

Most of the dangers faced by hedgehogs are the result of human action, much of which you may not even realise impacts on hedgehogs. There are many small things you can do to avoid harming hedgehogs.

Build a hedgehog house in your garden

How to build a hedgehog house in your garden

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