Be hedgehog aware this autumn

I’m having an animal day, it seems, and why not? The amazing Sue Gear, animal lover and rescuer extraordinaire of Born to Be Wild wrote on her Facebook page this weekend:

Hedgehogs arrived Tamar Vets Bude before 10 am. Four orphans that will now be overwintered with me. Then a very poorly one that had been found in the road but had possible strimmer injury its nose was missing and the kindest thing to do for it is to stop the suffering, the poor thing was in a lot of pain and was pts😔. The other adults that were bought in: one has an eye infection and very wheezy. The other one was found out in the day in a horse field, with no obvious injuries. Here they are.

Photo from Sue Gear

If you can help Sue’s work, check out this Just Giving page. It’s that time of year when we see hedgehogs in need of help, but how do we know? Sue recommended the British Hedgehog Preservation Society which gives this advice on young hedgehogs:


If the hedgehog is a regular visitor to your garden, is only seen at night, appears active and you are prepared to feed it every night then it can be left in the wild.  See notes on feeding and feeding stations.

However, if the hedgehog goes off its food, wobbles and staggers or starts coming out in the day or you notice it has green slimy poo especially if there is blood in it, then it needs extra help as soon as possible (see basic first aid).

Even if you must bring a hedgehog in do keep putting food outside as there may be siblings or other autumn juveniles making the most of your hospitality.  If the food does not go you could continue to provide dry cat biscuits – these will not go off as quickly as tinned food so are less wasteful.  Make sure there is water available, especially if feeding dry foods.

It is helpful if you can weigh your visitor at least once a week if its size is a concern to ensure it is putting on weight and doing well.  Any under 250gms in autumn are likely to be genuine orphans and should be rescued immediately.


Hedgehogs are nocturnal so those out in the day are displaying odd behaviour.  Even though they appear lively and are rushing around these hedgehogs probably need rescuing in autumn/winter.  Once out in the day, they can be days away from death.  Even when rescued they can seem OK for a day or so and then suddenly collapse and die.  So if out in the day whether rushing about or curled up asleep they need rescuing.  Hedgehogs do NOT hibernate in the open.  They make a nest of leaves etc and disappear into the depths of the nest and are completely hidden.  Hedgehogs under 450gms (1lb) that appear to be hibernating (cold and in a tight ball) are suffering from hypothermia and are in fact dying.  These must be rescued if they are to stand any chance of survival.

Towards the end of October or if bad weather is expected those under 350gms (12oz) may best be rescued whether they are out day or night.  This can be difficult to determine as the further north you are the earlier winter will appear – if in doubt call us on 01584 890 801 to find a carer near you and seek their advice.  In October small ones seen away from your garden eg crossing the road at night may also be best rescued as they may not have a ready supply of food as ones regularly visiting your garden.



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