Frequently Asked Questions

What food should I offer to my hedgehog visitors?

The best things to offer are a good quality meaty hedgehog food, meaty cat or dog food or dry 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 see first aid advice here

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 see first aid advice here

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 any hedgehogs not instantly killed should be immediately taken to your nearest vet, as their injuries are likely to be so severe they may have to be put to sleep. Do check for hoglets as the nest you have strimmed could be a nursery nest with dependent young who will need to be rescued. Please see first aid advice here

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, lying out, has flies around it, is wobbly, or gives you any other cause for concern, please see first aid advice here

My dog doesn’t like hedgehogs in the garden, can you move them?

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 an independent local rehabilitator to see if they can safely relocate the hedgehog (avoiding baby season).

Otherwise, training the dog to leave hedgehogs alone is the ideal solution. Using a lead or muzzle on your dog when going out after dark will help.

Switching on outdoor security lights and making lots of noise can warn hedgehogs that something is happening and give them a chance to hide. 

Hedgehogs often have a routine so if you see a hedgehog out at a certain time – avoid letting the dog out during 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.

Can I ‘mark’ my hedgehogs?

We’re pretty sure a hedgehog would rather not be marked.

We have seen some very sad images of poor hedgehogs practically covered in paint!  If you are watching the hedgehogs on a wildlife camera you will often be able to tell them apart over time without the need for marking.

Can I photograph or film the hedgehogs in my garden?

Wildlife cameras are great for spotting hedgehogs in your garden without disturbing them. However, if you do want to take photographs, you should always consider wildlife welfare and proceed with care. As hedgehogs are nocturnal, photographing them can be a challenge, but with the right camera and technique, it’s still possible to get a great shot!

Tips for taking photographs to minimise disturbing wildlife:

  • Never disturb a sleeping or hibernating hedgehog or open a nest box that is in use.
  • Use wildlife cameras and night filters where possible.
  • Avoid flash photography – use specialist camera settings or post-production editing to enhance dark images.
  • Install a wildlife camera and take photo stills from the films.
  • Keep your distance.
  • Avoid sudden movements or loud noises.

Never compromise animal welfare.

Can I send BHPS my hedgehog photos & videos?

It’s really important to us that the images we share show healthy, wild hedgehogs, in a natural environment. If your images fit this description, we’d be pleased to receive them.

We ask photographers who submit images to us to share the time and month their image was taken so we can ensure, as far as possible, that we only share images of healthy hedgehogs.

Please send them to us via email at

As hedgehogs are nocturnal mammals and are active mainly at night, this means many images we share are from night-cameras and wildlife-cameras or taken using filters to enhance the lighting conditions!

As night-photography is more specialist, we receive a lot of photographs of hedgehogs taken at dawn and dusk – especially in the summertime – when it still appears quite light. Spotting an active hedgehog at dawn or dusk is not necessarily a cause for concern, especially during seasons where the nights are shorter.

We do occasionally use images of injured or unwell hedgehogs to illustrate dangers or first aid care.

I’ve seen a hedgehog out during the day – should I rescue it?

If you see a hedgehog out in the day, it may be unwell and in need of urgent first aid advice. Follow this guidance and then call us as soon as possible on 01584 890 801 for further advice and the numbers of local independent rehabilitators.

There are some occasions when spotting a hedgehog out in daylight hours is okay.

  • Nesting and nursing mother hedgehogs will occasionally be seen for short spells out in daylight hours – moving purposefully, usually foraging for food, or gathering nesting materials. If the hedgehog appears well and active and is only out for short spells, this is not a cause for concern.
  • Nest disturbance – if a nest has been disturbed or damaged hedgehogs might be forced to relocate during the day – again, these will be moving purposefully and if the hedgehog appears well and active, monitor the situation from a distance – if in doubt call BHPS for advice on 01584 890 801.
  • At dawn or dusk – especially during summertime when nights are short. If the hedgehog is moving purposefully and appears well and active, this is probably not a cause for concern. Monitor the situation from a distance – if in doubt call BHPS for advice on 01584 890 801.