British Hedgehog Preservation Society - Frequently asked questions.
Please feel free to copy and distribute or display to educate others about hedgehogs and how we can help them.
What food should I offer to my hedgehog visitors?
The best things to offer are Hedgehog food, meaty cat or dog food or complete cat biscuits. The only drink that should be offered is water (especially in dry weather and when offering dry food).
There’s a hedgehog in my garden sunbathing, is that ok?
No, it isn’t. Hedgehogs’ shouldn’t sunbathe and if you see one doing this it is in urgent need of help. Please use gardening gloves or a folded towel to pick it up, pop it into a high sided box with a towel or fleece in the bottom, keep it warm on a covered warm hot water bottle (even in hot weather), offer suitable food and water (see above) and then call BHPS on 01584 890 801 for further advice as soon as possible.
I’ve seen a hedgehog that looks ‘drunk’, is that ok?
Again, no, it isn’t ok. Hedgehogs in this state are actually hypothermic and in urgent need of help. Please offer the first aid described above and call us as soon as possible.
Do all hedgehogs have fleas and do they need them?
Not all hedgehogs have fleas; many of those rescued have none. However, hedgehogs do not NEED their fleas to survive, that’s an old wives tale. Hedgehog fleas are host specific so while they may jump onto a cat or dog, they won’t infest them.
Help! I’ve harmed a hedgehog whilst strimming.
Undoubtedly one of the most worrying calls we receive. PLEASE check areas thoroughly before strimming or mowing. These injuries are usually horrific and the hedgehog often has to be put to sleep, of course many are killed instantly with this kind of accident. Do check for hoglets as the nest you have strimmed could be a nursery nest.
Are Hedgehogs meant to be out in the daylight?
Not usually no. Hedgehogs are nocturnal, which means they shouldn’t really be seen out in daylight hours. Some of the exceptions to this are pregnant females gathering nesting materials just before she gives birth, or a new ‘Mum’ taking a break from the nest to get food and water while her young sleep. Sometimes, when the nights are short, a hungry hedgehog may forage around dusk and dawn. However, these hedgehogs would move quickly with purpose. If a hedgehog is lethargic, lay out, has flies around it, is wobbly, or gives you any other cause for concern, please call us for advice ASAP on 01584 890 801.
My dog doesn’t like hedgehogs in the garden, can you move it?
The answer is that unless you are prepared to hedgehog proof the entire garden, there is no point in moving the resident hedgehogs as others from the local population will very likely move into the vacated area. If you are prepared to do this work, the best thing is to contact a local carer to see if they can safely relocate the hedgehog (avoiding baby season). Otherwise, training the dog to leave hedgehogs alone is the ideal solution, taking the dog out for its ‘after dark’ run in the garden on a lead, using a muzzle and making lots of noise before the dog goes out to warn the hedgehog something is happening can help. Hedgehogs often have a routine so if you see a hedgehog about at a certain time it is likely to be around near that time the next night – avoid letting the dog out at those times.
I want a hedgehog for my garden; can I just take one from the wild?
No! Please don’t do this. It’s great that you want to encourage hedgehogs into your garden, but taking one from an area where it knows food and water sources to an unknown area isn’t fair. More worryingly, it could have dependent young in a nest, without its return, the nest will fail and the young won’t survive. Finally, if hedgehogs aren’t already in your garden, there might be a good reason for this. We have a leaflet available on this subject on our website www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk (or contact us for paper copy).