Found a baby hedgehog?

If you find an uninjured baby hedgehog (also known as a hoglet) and you think they need rescuing, watch them from a distance first. It's usually best to leave them alone. However, there are a few things you can do to check if the hoglet does need help.

Intervene straight away if you find a baby hedgehog:

  • In immediate danger - such as on a road
  • Weighing less than 300 grams - that's roughly the size of an apple - and without an adult hedgehog nearby
  • Sick or injured or surrounded by flies
  • Squeaking with eyes shut, without an adult nearby
  • In the daytime during a stretch of very cold weather (regular ground frost or below freezing for several days)
  • Next to a dead adult

If any of these apply, please collect them in a box and contact your local wildlife centre or a vet. If you're unable to transport the hoglet, please contact us.

Young hedgehogs that weigh over 300g should be weaned and almost ready to be independent from their parents, so please follow the advice below for young hedgehogs. Our advice is different for young hedgehogs found in the summer and those found in the autumn, closer to hibernation time.

Here's what to do if you find an adult hedgehog out during the day.

Helping young hedgehogs - summer

If they're larger than apple-sized (about 300g) and they're not in immediate danger, sick or injured, monitor the young hedgehog from a distance. If you're concerned, you can try offering them food and fresh water (see more on what to feed young hedgehogs below).

If the young hedgehog doesn't eat the food or it doesn't leave the area, please contact your nearest wildlife rehabilitator.

Helping young hedgehogs - from October to February

Although most hoglets are born in the summer, mothers can sometimes have a second litter that could be born as late as September or October, not long before hibernation starts. Hedgehogs born this late in the year might not have enough fat reserves to survive the long winter hibernation without some help. Often, they'll have to forage for longer to find enough food so they might be seen out during the day.

The best way to help the young hedgehog will depend on how much it weighs:

  • If the hoglet weighs less than 300g, it will need specialist care to survive the winter. Please follow the advice below to capture and transport the hedgehog to a carer.
  • If the young hedgehog weighs between 300 and 500g, is only seen at night, and it's before mid-October with mild weather, you can provide food in the garden. Monitor its weight, and if it's not gaining weight or you're still seeing it when the weather gets colder, please contact a rehabilitator.
  • If the young hedgehog weighs between 300 and 500g after mid-October, they probably won't have enough weight to see them through the winter, so may need more help. We recommend following the BHPS advice for autumn juvenile hedgehogs, which describes how to help them over the winter.
  • If the hedgehog weighs over 500g and is only seen out at night, it should be healthy enough to hibernate as normal in the wild. They'll be foraging for food overnight, so if you can, keep providing food in the garden, as this will help them to put on even more weight before hibernation. However, if the hedgehog is sick or injured or seen out during the day during cold weather, follow our advice.

We've worked with other rehabilitation organisations to produce a leaflet that explains more about suitable hibernation weights for hedgehogs.

What do young hedgehogs eat?

You can try offering food to a young hedgehog, but make sure you feed them something suitable:

  • Dog or cat food - tinned dog or cat food, and cat biscuits or crushed dog biscuits, make good hedgehog foods. 
  • Good quality, meaty specialist hedgehog foods - these can be bought from wildlife food suppliers.
  • Soak biscuits in water for very young hoglets that weigh less than 300g, as they can't eat dry food.
  • Never give cow's milk to hedgehogs, as it can give them diarrhoea.
  • Don't feed them bread, as it's low in nutrients.

Capturing and containing hedgehogs

If it's safe to catch and handle the hedgehog:

  • Make sure you wear thick gloves, as hedgehogs can carry diseases like ringworm or salmonella bacteria, which can be passed to humans. You can also handle them using a folded towel.
  • Gently pick it up and place it into a secure high-sided cardboard box, lined with a towel. You might also find that throwing a towel over the hedgehog causes it to curl up, making it easier to catch.
  • Don't handle the hedgehog any more than you need to, because contact with humans will be stressful for them.
  • Hedgehogs from the same litter can be kept in the same box if it's big enough.
  • Keep them warm - if a hedgehog gets too cold, they're less likely to recover, so place a warm, towel-wrapped hot water bottle in the box as soon as possible. Make sure there's enough room in the box for the hedgehog to move away from the bottle if it gets too hot.

Keep the hedgehog somewhere warm and quiet indoors, offer them a small amount of suitable food and water, and contact your nearest wildlife rehabilitator as soon as possible. It's often faster to take an animal to a wildlife rehabilitator yourself, as our officers may be out of the area attending other calls. If you're unable to transport the hedgehog, please contact us.

Find your nearest wildlife centre.

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