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Home Forums Champions’ chat Handling of Hedgehogs Reply To: Handling of Hedgehogs

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Hi James

Excluding hogs at rescues, which, out of necessity need handling and feeding, including during the day time, I agree with you. I have been becoming more concerned for some time about the excessive amount of handling of wild hedgehogs which we hear about – including on this Forum. Humans are predators. Handling hedgehogs (or for that matter, any wild animal) could lead to them becoming less likely to defend themselves appropriately, leaving them more open to predation by foxes and badgers (I believe that is the reason that a lot of ‘hedgehog rescues’ won’t release hogs back into areas where badgers are present), as well as attacks by dogs – which can be fatal. Also, not all humans love hedgehogs.

In his book ‘Hedgehogs’ Pat Morris says in relation to a study of over-wintered youngsters and in relation to them being predated by badgers, but this could equally apply to foxes:
‘ …. The risk might have been increased because our animals were accustomed to being caught and handled. They might have been insufficiently wary of ‘attack’ and several barely bothered to roll up when they were caught for weighing each night. This would be dangerously casual behaviour when accosted by a badger. ….’

This was a scientific study, hence the need for weighing, but in the normal course of events, it should not be necessary. I don’t believe there is any need for members of the general public to keep catching wild hogs for any reason. The only time this is necessary is if an animal is obviously in trouble or unwell, or if there are still very small hoglets around, when the weather becomes very cold (who could possibly not survive hibernation without our help). I believe, before any interaction with a wild animal, we should ask ourselves ‘is this for the benefit of the animal and/or the species in general?’ If the answer is no then the interaction is not justified.

Hedgehogs are :
“ …. protected from being killed or taken by certain methods under Section 11(1) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981…..”
This includes ‘…. artificial light, mirror or other dazzling device …. ‘

‘taking’ is described as things ‘such as trapping or handling’
A Licence is required for research.
scroll down to:
Hedgehog Research – why do we do it and what are the rules?

Whilst I am sure most people are trying to help hedgehogs, people who are repeatedly handling wild hedgehogs (without a licence) may not be doing the hogs or hedgehogs in general any favours and in some instances, possibly even breaking the law which is there to protect the hogs.

Wild hedgehogs are not pets. They are wild animals and should be allowed to remain wild animals.