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Hedgehog Rescue Advice

When does a hedgehog need rescuing ?

Hedgehogs can and do get themselves into all sorts of situations. Many of which requires them to be admitted into care at a wildlife rescue centre to receive the appropriate treatment and care.

Such situations include the following below:
 

  • Obviously injured

  • ANY hedgehog that's been picked up by a dog

  • Sunbathing hedgehogs 

  • ANY hedgehog being swarmed by flies

  • Hedgehog out during the daytime (*advice should be sought before intervening)

  • Any screaming or pipping hedgehog out in the open during the daytime.

These are just SOME of the many reasons as to why a hedgehog may require help, its advisable to contact us on our 24 hour wildlife helpline for any hedgehog case that may require specialist intervention.

How to rescue a Hedgehog.

  1. Using gardening gloves or a towel, please scoop up the hedgehog gently and quietly.

 

2.Then, place into a high sided cardboard box or pet carrier lined with a sheet of newspaper in the towel.

 

3.Do not put hedgehogs into substrate such as woodchips, wood shavings, sand, dirt, leaves or twigs. 

 

4.Offer a shallow bowl of water, do not force feed water as this can drown the hedgehog. Do not offer food items. The hedgehog is unlikely able to digest food properly at this point as its body will most likely be in a state of shock.

5.Put somewhere quiet and secure, away from domestic pets and noises. DO NOT keep disturbing the hedgehog, it will be frightened and can make the shock even worse.

6.Please call us or another suitable a wildlife rescue centre. Please be prepared to bring down to the centre if required, as most wildlife centres do not have the capacity to come and pick up from you.

I don't have the means to drive a hedgehog down to OWR, what shall I do?

Please call us on our wildlife helpline, we do have a wildlife ambulance which is used for emergency cases. We will ask you a series of questions, to determine the severity of the situation. Should we feel that the hedgehog requires immediate medical treatment, we shall dispatch / allocate our wildlife ambulance service to you as soon as we possibly can. 

Please note: Our wildlife ambulance service works on a priority basis, those who require immediate first aid will be prioritised over those who are not in a life and death situation. 
Whilst we understand that this can be frustrating sometimes, please understand that we are a charity that has limited resources and can only operate within our means. 

Abusive, verbal or physical behaviour will not be tolerated. 

Ive found a hedgehog caught up in a fence or netting. shall I cut it free and release it ?

NO! Never release any animal that's been caught up in netting or wire fencing. Hedgehogs are extremely good at hiding injuries (this is due to being a prey animal). 

The reason for this advice is that the animal will need both a clinical and veterinary examination to ascertain  whether or not the constriction has caused any injuries. One condition that is seen regularly is pressure necrosis. Pressure necrosis is where the soft tissue has become damaged and will eventually die if treatment isn't provided. 

This condition can take up to 14 days to reveal itself, and thus any animal that's become entrapped and constricted, must not be immediately released . 

Instead the hedgehog must be freed from the netting by cutting the net and then referred for medical assistance straight away.

I've found a hedgehog covered in ticks, should I rescue ?

1-5 ticks is usually ok for a hedgehog. Due to them living in close proximity to the ground, ticks are a regular hitchhiker for hedgehogs, but, hedgehogs can cope with a small number from time to time. However, if a hedgehog has a large number of ticks, this can be a problem or can indicate that the hedgehog isn't feeling well and should be rescued. 

DO NOT try to pull a tick off a hedgehog.  Ticks are tiny little parasitic arachnids with sharp barbed wire like mouth called the Hypostome.  The hypostome latches onto the skin. It’s tiny head and mouth will break off if not removed properly, which can later cause infection or the tick may regurgitate innards back into the bloodstream of a hedgehog, which may promote sepsis or other problems further down the line. 

My dog has found a hedgehog, but doesn't seem to have injured it, what should I do?

It's important to remember that while your dog may have a soft mouth, it doesn't have soft teeth. When dealing with hedgehogs, there are two things to keep in mind.

 

Firstly, hedgehogs have spines that can cause considerable damage to a dog's mouth. Always check for bleeding and other signs of injury.

Secondly, even if the hedgehog appears uninjured, it's impossible to see internal injuries without the use of an x-ray. Therefore, It's crucial to take the hedgehog to the nearest vet to have it checked. Releasing an injured hedgehog, which is a protected species, is a violation of the Animals and Wildlife Acts and can result in a significant fine and even imprisonment.

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