Hedgehog first aid

If you find a hedgehog out in the daytime, it is almost certainly in trouble. Hedgehogs are nocturnal and do not come out during
the day to lay in the sun.

A hedgehog out in the day will have been orphaned, injured, poisoned or cold and starving. Your help is essential if it is to survive.

Please take the hedgehog indoors (using hand protection against its spines) and follow these steps.

1) Warmth

Hedgehog being cared forThis is the top priority. Hedgehogs who are cold or wet will not eat or drink.

Place the hedgehog in a high sided box, lined with newspaper. If you can, place the hedgehog on a hot water bottle, that has been wrapped in a towel and cover with a further towel. If you don’t have a hot water bottle you can use a plastic water bottle, wrapped in a towel. Leave enough room for the hedgehog to move off if it gets too hot. Ensure bottle stays warm, if allowed to go cold it will do more harm than good.

2) Hydration

Offer the hedgehog a drink of water (not cow’s milk as this can cause enteritis) in a saucer.

3) Call for help and advice

During office hours please call us for help and advice. We may also be able to take the hedeghog into our care.

Our phone number is 0114 234 9656.

Or if you are outside South Yorkshire, call the British Hedgehog Preservation Society on 01584 890 801 for details of your local hedgehog care centre.

Outside office hours, please:

4) Offer food and keep the hedgehog warm overnight

Once it is warm and hydrated the hedgehog may take a little dog food, cat food or cooked chicken. Keep the hedgehog warm overnight and call us in the morning.

5) If the hedgehog is injured

If you find a badly injured hedgehog, take it to a vet immediately. They will advise if it it can be treated or if it needs putting it to sleep (if it is suffering and cannot be treated). Vets do not usually charge for emergency wildlife first aid.

More information on how to care for a hedgehog in trouble

The BHPS provides more information on how to look after the hedgehog overnight (including how to feed him or her).

Sometimes – especially in the breeding season – large hedgehogs may be seen in daytime hours. It is usually possible to distinguish these from hedgehogs in distress as they will be very active, with a purpose in mind! Healthy adult hedgehogs not in danger will not be laid out or lethargic. They will generally collect food or nest material and then quickly disappear.

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