Helping Hedgehogs

 

HEDGEHOGS WHICH DON'T NEED HELP!

Misguided people sometimes “rescue” a healthy hedgehog in the road at night and put it in their (enclosed) garden to eat slugs and other pests. This is very cruel because hedgehogs wander long distances every night, especially in the breeding season, and they know their own home area very well.  So if you find an uninjured hedgehog at night in the road, please move it out of harm’s way nearby, but not more than a few hundred metres from where you found it.

During long summer days when the hours of darkness are short, mother hedgehogs often wander away from their nests to forage, well meaning people pick them up, thinking they must be ill, when there is nothing wrong with them and it is obviously imperative that they be returned to the place where they were found as soon as possible, so that their babies do not die from cold, hunger or predation.

At other times, hedgehogs whose nests have been disturbed may be seen walking purposefully to another nest site during the day, these also should be left to go on their way.

 

HEDGEHOGS WHICH MAY NEED HELP:

Hedgehogs are nocturnal, so if they are lying out of their nests during the day, that is a sure sign that something is wrong. A healthy hedgehog does not “sunbathe” on the lawn.  Please phone for advice, even if you cannot see an injury. Because they roll up if they are frightened, it is often very difficult to see if they are hurt. If they are injured we take them to the vet to be examined under anaesthetic. The spines on a dehydrated hedgehog will lie flat against its back and not stand up at all angles as they do on a healthy hog. Can you see the difference in these 2 photos?

Sick Hedgehog                                 Healthy Hedgehog

 

BABY HEDGEHOGS:

Baby hedgehogs (hoglets) can be born from May until the end of October in Jersey and they sometimes lose their way at night when learning to forage with mother, if you find one lying in full view in daytime, the flies will also find it and lay their eggs on it, which will hatch into maggots and the hedgehog will die if you do not rescue it.

 

AUTUMN JUVENILES NEED OUR HELP

After the end of November any young hedgehog which has not reached a safe weight for hibernation (450g) may not survive the winter in the wild.  If they are found and brought to us, we care for them until they weigh 600g when we release them in mild weather or wait until Spring if they decide to hibernate in care. 

 

IF YOU DISTURB A NEST OF HOGLETS: 

If you disturb a nest of very young hoglets, please ring as soon as possible for advice, circumstances vary and we do not want to remove babies when the mother is hiding nearby and likely to return to the nest.  However, if you find a solitary nestling and cannot find the nest to return it to, please do rescue it, keep it warm and phone 01534 734340 for help urgently, do not feed it cow’s milk, we have special milk replacer to feed it.

 

HOW TO PICK UP A HEDGEHOG:

Please wear gloves to protect yourself from their spines and any infection or parasites they may have.  Pick it up and put it in a deep box with some ripped up newspaper or hay to hide under.  Offer it some water to drink and some dog or cat food to eat, do not give it cow’s milk, as they cannot digest the lactose and may get a tummy upset if they drink it.  Please keep the box inside away from flies and if the weather is cold, in a warm room, until help arrives.  Phone  01534 734340 for help or advice.

 

HOW YOU CAN HELP HEDGEHOGS IN YOUR GARDEN

Garden as organically as you can, let hedgehogs and other wildlife be your pest controllers.  Leave at least one corner a little bit “wild” with plenty of ground cover and arching shrubs for them to nest under.  Sweep your grass cuttings and dry leaves under your hedge or shed so they can easily build a winter nest there.

 

Always provide water on the ground and put out cat or dog food if you have hedgehogs visiting provided there are no rats. You can put the food under an upturned wooden box with a 4”/10cm hole cut in one side to discourage cats or dogs from eating it before the hedgehogs get there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contact Information

Dru Burdon

White Lodge

Waterworks Valley

St Helier

JE3 1HQ

01534 734340

 

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