Hedgehogs have few predators, badgers and foxes are occasionally able to breach their defences but man is their major threat. Death or injury on the roads is very common and, while they are well suited to the habitat of the suburban garden, they also face many dangers such as damage by strimmers, entanglement in garden netting, ingestion of garden chemicals and disruption of nesting sites. Gamekeepers will also trap and kill them because they concerned that they may take birds eggs from their nests.
It is abnormal to find a hedgehog out of its nest and active during the hours of daylight, which means if you do they are generally quite sick or injured.
The only other time they may venture out in daylight is towards the Autumn when they are building up their body weight ready to hibernate. They need to reach a target weight to be able to survive through the Winter months. Hedgehogs that were born late in the season or have been sick or injured earlier in the year may struggle to meet their target weight so therefore wont be able to hibernate successfully.
These are the ones that need our help. From September onwards if you see a small hedgehog that weighs less than 600 grams it will need to be over-Wintered as it is too small to hibernate; contact us or R.S.P.C.A. who will be able to help.
If you find a hedgehog showing signs of illness, injury or out during the day again contact the R.S.P.C.A. or us, so that they can be passed on to a specialist rescue centre who will look after them long term.
If you are unsure if the hedgehog needs rescuing then wait, make sure it is protected and not going to gain further injuries, offer food and water then observe it for 12-24 hours, if the hedgehog is still around then it probably needs veterinary attention.
Always pick up a hedgehog wearing gloves or use a towel both to protect yourself as well as the hedgehog. Place it in a box with a towel to hide under, and offer it water and dog or cat food (not fishy). Never feed bread and milk as this can cause stomach problems and may even be fatal.