Hedgehogs   -   common problems

                    Out in daylight
This is usually a bad sign but occasionally, a healthy hedgehog has to move to another nest site in daytime if it is disturbed.
Observe the animal.
If it is gathering grass or leaves and does not seem ill or distressed, only busy, keep an eye on it and check it eventually goes into hiding
.
Lying still
Put it in a box with some straw or shredded newspaper and take it to a rescue centre straight away.

                    Walking in circles
Put it in a box with some straw or shredded newspaper and take it to a rescue centre straight away.

                    Caught in netting Adults and youngsters often get caught in garden netting.
It may have been in there for hours, struggling to escape and be very distressed by the time it is found.
Call the RSPCA or your local rescue centre.
They will need to cut the animal free and check for dislocations and other injuries.
 
Limping / dragging a leg
Broken rear legs are very common strimmer accidents and they often become badly infected, leading to septicaemia and death. 
Put it in a box with some straw or shredded newspaper and take it to a rescue centre straight away.

Nest disturbed
This is a frequent occurrence in spring/early summer.
Is the mother still around? 
When a nest is disturbed, the mother often runs away at first but hides nearby in the hope of returning to her family.
Can you leave the family in place if the mother returns? 
If yes, you will need to keep a careful watch to make sure she returns and carries on looking after the youngsters.

Is the nest site destroyed? 
If it is, the babies will have to be raised at a rescue Centre.
Their survival is more likely if they can be reunited with their mother, even if it takes a day or so to find her.
Do not handle the babies with bare hands.
Wear gloves or pick them up with soft tissue or cloth and  keep them warm while you search for the mother. 
If the young start getting cold, they can be put in a box on top of a hot water bottle wrapped in an old towel until the mother returns. 
Always try and find the mother, she can rear the youngsters much better than anyone else.

No local rescue centre?
If you have a large unused rabbit hutch or empty shed and have caught the mother, you can provide a shelter for her to raise the family.

Hedgehogs in a hutch:
fill the bedroom area with dry straw and/or dry leaves and put the mother and babies inside.
Remember to wear gardening gloves or similar when handling the babies.
Place a heavy saucer with about a third of a tin of meaty catfood in the open compartment, plus a heavy ceramic bowl of drinking water.
If possible, provide a shallow dish of live mealworms and mealworm beetles and a few pieces of chopped up raw chicken (wing or leg, including skin) as well.
If all the food is eaten, put out slightly more next time until you find the right balance.  Add variety with earthworms, wax moth larvae, raw chicken carcass etc.
You should provide slightly too much food so the hedgehogs do not go hungry.
As the babies grow, they will start eating solid so use a flat dish to let them reach the food easily.
Partly cover the open section with heavy sacking or tarpaulin and stay away until the following day.
Only open the compartment to change the food and water daily.
If the hutch is on short legs, after 2 -3 weeks, move it into the area where the nest was found.
Securely prop the door open about 6 inches so the mother can get out and look for wild food.
She may choose to stay in the hutch or may re-build the nest and move her family back into the garden.

Hedgehogs in a shed
Put the babies and adult in a large cardboard box full of straw and make an exit hole in the side.
Provide a variety of live and raw food as above and a low, heavy bowl of water.
Also if there is space, provide a spare cardboard box filled with dry straw and leaves, with an entrance hole cut in the side.
The mother hedgehog will transfer the babies to this when the first nest becomes a bit grubby.
If all the food is eaten, put out slightly more next time until you find the right balance. 
You should provide slightly too much food so the hedgehogs do not go hungry.
As the babies grow, they will start eating solid so use a flat dish to let them reach the food easily.
Keep track of the date and do not attempt to look at the babies until at least 2 weeks have passed.
Ideally, you should wait until you see the youngsters visiting the food dish before trying to check on the family.

Mother dead
Keep the babies warm in a box with a hot water bottle wrapped in an old towel.
Take them to a Rescue Centre as soon as possible.

Young, alone, out in daylight  
What colour are the spines?  Are the eyes open or closed?  Is it active?  Is it making a piping noise a bit like a bird? 
Hedgehogs develop white spines shortly after birth and the darker ones grow amongst them over a period of weeks.
If the spines are white, or mainly white, it is not weaned and far too small to be away from its mother.
Pick it up with gloves or soft paper and place in a warm little box with shredded kitchen roll or an old towel. 
If there is no sign of a nest it will have to go to a Rescue Centre for rearing.

Young, piping loudly  
Try and locate the baby hog/s.  Are they in a nest?  Can you hear or see the mother nearby? 
Do not immediately remove them. 
If it is dark, wait until daylight in case the mother returns.
If she does not turn up, keep the youngsters warm and take to a rescue centre.

To find local help go to: Rescue Centres