You don't need to rescue every hedgehog but please don't ignore those that need help.

Feeding a sick or injured hedgehog can cause a number of problems. Please give a shallow dish of water then call for advice.

Where we refer to shock, we are talking about medical shock ie. loss of body fluids, not shock as in they had a nasty surprise.


If a hedgehog or any animal is out, where you would not normally see it, in hot/dry weather it will be dying for a drink. Literally.

Please put out plant pot saucers with straight sides, fill them with fresh water and top up daily. Place the saucers in the borders under plants for shade.

If an animal is collapsed in the open it may be injured but it is almost certainly dehydrated. If it cannot stand do not attempt to get water in its mouth, you will drown it.

NEVER attempt to feed a dehydrated animal, you will kill it. Pick the animal up, put it in a deep box, take the box indoors away from heat, predators and flies. Place a shallow bowl of water in with it then call a LOCAL rescue for further advice, distant rescues do not know your local conditions.

DO NOT LEAVE THE ANIMAL OUTSIDE IN YOUR GARDEN to get attacked by flies and please don't put it in a boiling hot shed.


A hedgehog that weighs less than 500g trying to hibernate will struggle and smaller ones will die.

If you see a small one, day or night, when the winter is setting in and night time (3am) temperatures are 0℃ or below for an extended period, please pick the little one up, weigh it. Under 500g pop it in a deep box, get it indoors in the warm, somewhere nice and quiet, then call your nearest rescue for further information. These animals are not like dogs and cats to rear so please get advice.

To help those that are not found, please put out plant pot saucers with straight sides, fill them with fresh water and top up daily. Provide food right the way through the winter, more information on our Feeding page

NEVER attempt to feed a dehydrated, collapsed, or unresponsive animal, by putting food and water in its mouth, you will kill it when it inhales what you have given onto its lungs. Place a shallow bowl of water in with it then call a LOCAL rescue for further advice, distant rescues do not know your local conditions.

DO NOT LEAVE THE ANIMAL OUTSIDE IN YOUR GARDEN to run off or get attacked by predators.

If you believe you might be able to look after the little one yourself there is plenty of information on this page. Please make sure you read the information on there fully and carefully before deciding.

Once you have determined the hedgehog needs rescuing please read our How to rescue page.


Any wild animal rescued when it doesn't need to be rescued can end up with problems kicked off by fear and the stress of capture. Hedgehogs will appear docile in the hope that you will go away and leave them alone. Please ask if not sure but secure the animal somewhere quiet and dark whilst you do.


You can offer a shallow dish of water or rehydration fluid but giving food to a dehydrated animal may kill it. The body takes all the fluids away from the vital organs to digest the food and the animal collapses.

The Hedgehog is out during the day
Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, sleeping during the day and foraging for food late evening through to early morning. If they are out during the day there MAY be a problem. If it seems to have a purpose and is going somewhere, or has a mouthful of leaves, it is probably fine. Otherwise a hedgehog found out during daylight should be restrained in a box or cage, INDOORS, then call a rescue for advice.
The Hedgehog is asleep in the open
Hedgehogs sleep and hibernate in specially built nests. If you find one lying in the middle of a garden or path, assume they are ill and take them to an expert as soon as possible.
A baby or babies (after surveillance)
Baby and young juvenile hedgehogs live with mum and siblings in nests. Tiny babies will only leave a nest if there is a problem. Young hedgehogs will make a very shrill, loud, call if they are in distress. It sounds like an indoor smoke alarm or a high pitched manic duck.

If you find one, please do not try to look after it yourself as babies die very quickly and need specialist feeds. If you can't get it to anyone immediately due to the time, check out our babies page for ages and what to do, but please get the infant to an expert as soon as you possibly can.

Under NO circumstances feed them milk.
Hit by car or dog attack
Hedgehogs hit by cars or attacked by dogs, and can suffer a variety of injuries, they must have medical assistance immediately. Take the animal to your nearest vet unless you know of a carer or wildlife centre within easy reach
A leg appears damaged or is dragging
SOME fractured legs can be fixed by the right people and this does not necessarily mean the nearest vet who may well amputate or euthanase. A clean fracture can be pinned or splinted, a shattered fracture or an open one with infection in he bone on the other hand is likely to be fatal. St Tiggywinkles are experts with broken legs, if you are able, get the hog to them as soon as you possibly can before infection sets in. Otherwise, call a local carer, wildlife hospital or vet.
Dragging both hind legs
This can indicate a spinal injury or pelvic fracture. Handle the hedgehog very carefully. If possible, carefully slide a board or stiff piece of card underneath it and take to a wildlife hospital, carer or vet as soon as possible.
Cold Winter - under 500 grams
Hedgehogs need at least 20% body fat to survive hibernation, any animal under this weight will need to be housed indoors for the whole of the Winter. We find that it's unlikely we can release in the South of England until early May. This obviously varies depending on location and weather conditions
The Hedgehog has open wounds
These can become infected or fly blown and will not heal without assistance. Urgent attention is required as the animal will be suffering from shock
The Hedgehog is caught in netting.
Take the Hedgehog to a wildlife hospital, carer or vet immediately, complete with the netting. It must be cut out and will need to stay in hospital for at least seven days' observation, in case of further complications.
Any "apparent" injured orphan
Any young hedgehog that has an injury, or is out during the day, should be taken to an expert for a check over

Under NO circumstances try to feed them milk.

Once you have determined the hedgehog needs rescuing please read our How to rescue page before phoning.

  Leave alone

If in doubt, rescue and contact an expert immediately. If there is no problem with the hedgehog it can be released where it was found and it will carry on as if nothing had happened. The only exception being a nest, either with or without mum. In this case call for advice before touching anything

The Hedgehog is running along a fence or wall and obviously going somewhere
If a large hog, it could be disturbed from its nest and going to another one or it could be a female nestbuilding before giving birth. Please leave these alone but keep an eye on them to ensure they get to where they are heading without issues. Please stay well away or they will panic and may get into trouble.

As very small hog running around, whether squeaking or not, is either in trouble or out looking for mum who hasn't come back to the nest. Please do not leave these without checking so pop them in a box or cover them with a box so they can't disappear and call a LOCAL rescue for advice.
The Hedgehog is in its nest
Hedgehogs sleep all day in their nests. Please do not disturb them. If the nest has been uncovered, cover it straight back up.
Over 600 grams in winter
As long as it isn't out in daylight or 'sunbathing' on your lawn, leave it alone and it will hibernate when it's ready. If you wish to help it, you can put out food and water each day as detailed on our Feeding page.
'Orphans' in the nest
Never disturb a nest of babies, the mother may abandon or kill them. Rescues will have to be artificially reared and they are far better off with their mother who can do a much better job than humans can.

Sometimes the nest has already been disturbed and mum has gone or been killed. If you think this might be the case, from a distance, and preferably down wind, keep a close eye on the nest to see if she returns. If there is no sign within a couple of hours and the babies are making peeping noises, wear gloves and place the entire nest in a cardboard box and get them to a carer, wildlife centre or vet immediately.

Do not try to rear them yourself. Babies are notoriously difficult to feed and toilet correctly and they need somebody who knows what they're doing to get them over the hump.

Under NO circumstances try to feed them milk.
A nest in your shed or garage
If it's not in any danger and it's not causing you any problems, then leave the hedgehog where it is ESPECIALLY if there are babies. Make sure it can get in and out by itself, look for holes or gaps. If it's been trapped then please supply a shallow dish of water then call a rescue for advice, do not feed.
The hedgehog appears dead
Please do not bury it until you are 100% sure it is dead and not sick or hibernating.
A hibernating hedgehog will be very very cold, it's rarely breathes and when it does it's shallow. There is unlikely to be any movement but it won't smell of decomposition.
If in doubt contact a HEDGEHOG rescue for advice