Hedgehog found trapped in a litter bin rescued by our frontline team

Hedgehog found trapped in a litter bin rescued by our frontline team

One of our inspectors rescued a hedgehog who had been thrown away in a rubbish bin near a children's play park in Bicester.Hedgehog in a bin

A member of the public heard the distressed hedgehog as it attempted to escape, with the noise of the hedgehog knocking the metal bin with his nose alerting them.

Inspector Andy Eddy attended to rescue the creature and was able to reach down into the bin and carefully lift out the hedgehog.

Andy said:

We are so very grateful that the member of the public heard the noise and decided to investigate because there is no way this hedgehog would have been able to get out of the bin all by himself.

There is no way he got himself in there either but it is not known what happened or how he came to be trapped. It is possible he was accidentally put in the bin with some rubbish perhaps. We just hope it wasn't deliberate.

"After giving the hedgehog a helping hand, I took him to a wildlife centre for a check up as he had a sore nose possibly from rubbing against the side of the bin and was a little small to be out at this time of the year."

Flood of hedgehogs arriving at our wildlife centres

Every autumn, in the run-up to hedgehog hibernation time, we see a flood of these iconic wild animals brought into our centres.  

Hedgehog bin

Hedgehogs are by far the most common species admitted to our wildlife centres across October and November and there have been 1,815 hedgehogs come through the doors of the specialist rehabilitation centres so far during 2020.

But it's not easy to tell if a hedgehog is in trouble, so from time to time, perfectly healthy hedgehogs are brought into wildlife centres by well-meaning members of the public when they would be better off left in the wild.  

Know your healthy hogs using fruit sizes

To help animal lovers make a more informed decision, we have introduced simple guidance based on fruit sizes to help the public gauge whether a hedgehog is underweight and needs specialist care (if the hedgehog is mango- or apple-sized) or big enough to survive hibernation (pineapple-sized).

Andy added:

It can be quite tricky to tell whether a hedgehog really needs help or not.  Using fruit sizes as a guide is a useful way of working out whether the animal¿s healthy or in trouble.  

If the hog is mango-sized or even smaller, it needs to be taken to a rescue centre.  At this size, the hedgehog will probably weigh less than 450g and is unlikely to survive the winter without expert care.  But if it's the size of a pineapple, there's no need to worry.  That hedgehog will have reached a very healthy weight and can be left in peace to carry on with its preparations for hibernation.

Hedgehogs need considerable fat reserves to get them through the winter.  As autumn turns to winter, prey such as insects become much more scarce, and that can prevent young hedgehogs reaching an appropriate weight of 500g or more so they can hibernate safely.

Despite hibernating, hedgehogs can be found out and about during winter when the weather is mild, as they will often wake up during this time to forage for food or move their nest sites.

Anyone with concerns about a wild animal's welfare can contact our advice line 0300 1234 999.

For more information about how to help hedgehogs in your garden, visit our hedgehog advice webpage.