Hedgehogs are nocturnal and should not be out in the day. A hedgehog out in the day is in urgent need of rescue. Hedgehogs never sunbathe.
Don’t delay, the faster you act, the greater the chance of saving the hedgehog. Speed in getting help is particularly important if the hedgehog is collapsed/not moving or is shaking/wobbling when walking.
What to do.
- Pick it up with thick gloves on.
- Contain the hedgehog in something with very high sides. Plastic recycling boxes from the Council are excellent. It may climb out of anything with lower sides.
- Place it somewhere warm. This is vital if the hedgehog feels cold to the touch or is shaking/wobbling.
- Fill a hot water bottle or a leak-proof drinks bottle with hot water.
Don’t use boiling water. Wrap the bottle in an old towel and place it at the bottom of the box. Then place the hedgehog onto the heat and cover it with an old towel or fleece. It is vital to make sure that there is room for the hedgehog to move away from the heat source. Keep checking on the bottle to make sure it is warm – if it gets too cold it will take heat away from the hedgehog. If you have one, a microwaveable heat pad is better and you need to keep the hedgehog indoors in a warm room.
- Offer a shallow dish of water. Don’t offer food. I know it is tempting but this can kill a starving dehydrated hedgehog.
You can make a basic rehydration fluid to offer instead of water:
1 litre warm water with 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Then offer in a shallow dish.
- Get some help. Caring for poorly hedgehogs is a specialist task. Don’t be tempted to try and care for it yourself without seeking advice.
If you have found a baby hedgehog/nest of baby hedgehogs do not touch them with bare hands. Always wear gloves. Seek urgent advice before picking up the babies – a hedgehog rescue can advise whether they are likely to have been abandoned or whether mum may come back.
Call the British Hedgehog Preservation Society on 01584 890801 for details of carers. There is an answer machine with information outside office hours www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk