How Can I Help Hedgehogs?... By creating a Hedgehog Friendly Garden :-)
Hedgehogs are nocturnal and should not be out during the day. Hedgehogs out in the day are often poorly and need help. The exception to this rule is if the Hedgehog is large and moving with purpose. This could be a nesting mum looking for food / water / nesting materials and should be left alone. If in any doubt, using gloves, put the Hedgehog in a secure box with a blanket. Place it somewhere warm and quiet while you ring your local Hedgehog rescue centre for advice and help.
Hedgehogs do NOT sunbathe. If you see a Hedgehog lying in the sun, it is in urgent need of help. Using gloves, pick it up, put it into a high sided box with a blanket, keep it warm, offer water and get it to your local rescue ASAP.
The majority of a Hedgehog's diet is made up of invertebrates (or creepy crawlies); worms, beetles, slugs, caterpillars, earwigs and millipedes.
However, Hedgehogs are opportunists and have been known to eat frogs, eggs and even birds!
Bugs can sometimes be hard to find. You can help by feeding Hedgehogs meat-based dog and cat food, or kitten biscuits.
In Short - Don't stop please! Not all hedgehogs hibernate. Some do for a short time, some for months and those that do, waken periodically to top up their reserves, so a nearby feast may make all the difference to their survival.
A shallow dish of water every night is all they need! Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant so you must NEVER give them milk.
This is a tough one to judge, so if in doubt, ask your local rescue for advice. In general, if it can eat and drink on its own and is only coming out at night, then it can be left alone. If it is really small, 'pipping' for mum and mum is nowhere to be seen, then contact your local rescue.
Not all Hedgehogs have fleas. A healthy Hedgehog may have a few fleas. A poorly Hedgehog may have a high burden of fleas.
Did you know there are different types of fleas? Hedgehog fleas are host specific which means they cannot live on you or any other animal.
Domestic pet flea treatments can be harmful to Hedgehogs so always let an experienced rescuer provide treatment.
Due to having 7000 spines each, its a bit tricky! So, the female adopts a special body position with her spines flattened as the male climbs on behind. Studies have shown hedgehogs often have several different mates in a single season and sometimes a single litter can have multiple dads!
Hedgehogs reach sexual maturity in their second year of life. Hedgehogs can have two litters a year. As the climate changes, their nesting dates can vary, but in general babies are made and born between April and September.
Hedgehogs typically have 4 or 5 babies. A baby Hedgehog is called a Hoglet.
Generally, Hedgehogs are scared of humans so as long as you observe them from a distance, they pose no threat.
If a poorly Hedgehog needs to be handled, always wear thick gardening gloves as their spikes can be painful, they can bite when scared and they can transmit zoonotic diseases such as ringworm.
Can Hedgehog spikes hurt dogs? Yes! When a dog picks up a Hedgehog, both animals can be seriously hurt. That's why it is best to keep your dog on a lead at night.
Marking Hedgehogs is NOT good for them for many reasons including:
* Catching wild Hedgehogs is stressful for them which can lead to a rapid increase of internal parasites.
* Many people use inappropriate substances, such as nail varnish and correction fluid, all of which are toxic.
* One of a Hedgehog's defence mechanisms is camouflage. When you paint a Hedgehog, you can make it more prone to predation.
Ask yourself – Am I doing this for the benefit of the hedgehog or me?
Hedgehog Poo can vary depending on what the Hedgehog has been eating. See below for examples to help you identify if it is a Hedgehog visiting your garden :-)