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autumn juvenile

Home Forums Carers / rescuing a hedgehog autumn juvenile

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    I found a small hedgehog in the feeding station last night it weighed in at 235gms. Too small to survive winter so I have taken it in with a view to caring for it over winter. I have the book Hedgehogs by Pat Morris which has lots of information on the subject. I have been feeding ‘ my ‘ hedgehogs for a number of years now but this situation has never cropped up before. I am retired and quite happy to nurture the hoglet if I can. So if anyone has any advice I would be grateful.


    You need to contact a local carer and get it checked over. Once this is done pretty much all carers will be happy to return it to you for overwintering.
    Most juveniles picked up at this time of year have internal parasites. While these are not necessarily dangerous in a hog in a normal environment, when they are in a stressful situation – ie in captivity, they are known to get considerably worse and can easily end up causing the hog to die. So while my advice may seem extreme on what seems a healthy hog, it’s really worth doing. The BHPS number on this site will be able to let you know of any carers in your area.
    They will also be able to give you lots of advice and be a point of contact if anything starts to go wrong.


    Thanx for that advice and I have left a message on her phone to contact me. I will let you know what happens.


    Good luck


    The lady did get back to me and after a chat she felt that they sounded well, no ticks or fleas, and just to let her know how they were getting on. She recommended some scrambled egg so that will be on the menu tonight.


    I’m somewhat suprised that this was the advice given to you. Although I know that at this time of year carers are inundated with hogs.
    Please save the eggs for your breakfast. The best food you can give the little one is kitten/cat food – wet or dry or a mix of both which is what I would do for youngsters as sometimes they don’t take to dry food straight away.
    You need to weigh it now. Then again in a week – assuming it eats everything every night. If there is any weight loss or poor gain then it will need checking for internal parasites.
    You can take a poo sample to your local vets and ask them if they can check or alternatively send it to Vale wildlife hospital and they will check it for you. They do charge for this
    Let us know how you get on


    I am now caring for 2 hogs. They are both gaining weight and seem to love scrambled egg and Ark dried mix. The littlest is quite feisty and tries to run off when being weighed. I am fairly confident they are o.k. but if I see any decline I will take steps. If they continue to gain weight at this rate we should hopefully be able to release them before Christmas


    Hi Stef.
    A neighbour just brought me another hog weighing 250gms so then there were 3 ! I have been reading about diet and it seems that eggs are on the list so what is your objection as they do eat them in the wild and they are packed with goodies. We have ordered the Royal Canin dry biscuits to add to the Ark mix. I am wondering about ‘exercise’ and what to do as they may find it more stressful if they are handled more. I change their boxes daily.
    I shall do some research. I have the Pat Morris book 2014 edition so I will flick through there and on the internet.


    I have no objection to eggs at all if your hogs will eat them. However your original post gave the impression that is all you were told to feed them and that would not have been for the best.
    In the wild eggs do make up a percentage of a hogs diet, however as I’m sure you’ve read the bulk is made up of worms and various other creepie crawlies and insects. They are oportunistic feeders which often gets them in trouble.
    The food now noted above sounds fine.
    With regard to exercise the only thing to do is give them the biggest cage you can. It is not ideal but it’s better than being in the wild unable to cope.
    Hogs do not take to exercise wheels or anything. You will need to adjust their diet accordingly as time goes on so that they don’t get fat.
    In a large cage you can also scatter the food so they have to forage for it rather than just eat from a bowl – but this doesn’t work in a small area as it’ll end up being poo’d on
    I have found a lot of the hogs I’ve overwintered will naturally regulate their intake but that’s over hundreds of hogs and not the 3 you have, some are quite happy to just get fat!
    Keeping them together also helps as they will be more lively but do make sure one isn’t being bullied so you will need to keep weighing regularly


    I’ve just fed and settled our 3 little guests in their newly refreshed boxes.
    I have kept them apart as we have watched the hedgehog behaviour for a few years with a camera trap so unless it is for mating purposes they really prefer to be solitary and can be quite aggressive when they meet. So much so that we nicknamed one ‘phsycho’ and we have the footage to prove it.
    Tiggy 3 has a tick and Tiggy 2 has suddenly got 2 ? I guess they must have been on it’s tummy for us not to see them. My husband has ordered the special tool to remove them and there is a you tube video and he seems confidant.
    The 2 small ones have achieved 280gms and the 3rd is now 405gms so they are gaining weight so all good hopefully.
    If the heavier one achieves a higher weight could he safely be released?
    I realise advice says to keep them for the winter but if possible surely they would be better off in the wild especially as at present it has only been just over a week and we have 2 enclosed feeding stations in the garden.
    We set up the camera trap last night and we have footage of at least 4 individuals. 2 of which looked to be small so if we could release 1 we could help another hopefully. Of course we would be o.k. to over winter them as we know the population needs help. Please advise. Thankyou


    In captivity young hogs often settle better with another hog around so don’t rule out keeping them together. Once out in the wild it’s a different story but again not always
    I would not release the bigger one. The weight they gain in captivity is quick due to all the free food and ‘false’. By that I mean that they are not putting down the right type of brown fat for hibernation. Usually on release they will lose 100gms within the first couple of days. As we are already half way through november it’s only a matter of time before it may just decide to hibernate/winter arrive in force.
    Personally I’d double up in your hog houses. It’s not ideal but it’s better than being dead, and then they can all go in Spring.
    Ticks are easy to remove – you often don’t see them as they are small and then you only spot them as they get bigger.


    I have been feeding hedgehogs in my garden now for a good few years, they have been a joy to watch and have provided me with lots of entertainment from one being rammed off a (low) wall by a frustrated male (much to my horror, i ran outside like a bolt of lightening, they both looked up at me slightly embarrassed by what i had seen, the big one just grunted loudly and ran off) they are just so funny. Anyway I am by no means an expert but I have spent many frustrated hours reading most of the information available on the internet in an attempt to educate myself on these curious little creatures and i have been shocked at the sheer amount of conflicting advice and god damn ignorant articles by so called experts taken as fact with no supporting evidence, it is absolutely disgusting that these are not removed to prevent people with good intentions from being misled. One major concern is the advice on safe hibernation weights for autumn juveniles, i have seen ranges between 450g to 750g which are vastly different and not at all helpful for panicked hedgehog lovers in need of some prompt advice. From what i have learned there is no guaranteed survival weight although in a bad winter the heavier ones will stand a better chance but we don’t get them too often although you never quite know what we are in for (if you believe the doomsday weather predictions in the papers we are all fooked). We had a small one emerge from hibernation earlier this year, we rescued one that was 270g and this could have been a sibling that we missed. Luckily we had a rather mild winter. We also took in a small one a couple of days ago that was a deceptive 550g, i was very surprised by this as it was very small and not fat enough by a long way, so weight alone is not enough to make a judgement (use your instincts and get a second opinion if unsure) they should be round looking as appose to long when curled up) the rspca are very good if you have no transport, usually with you in a couple of hours from experience (not so quick with pigeon’s though) and will take it to a hedgehog carer to be overwintered. Please remember that we have lots left to learn about these little characters especially in regard to feeding mealworms etc (which i have been guilty of in the past) we all want what is best for them or we wouldn’t be here so lets not be stubborn and defensive because that helps no one, as humans we are constantly learning and mistakes will be made out of nothing but love but we can always improve x


    Hi Stef,
    Thanx for your comments but I would like to refer you to page 130 in the book Hedgehogs by Pat Morris. It is, according to the author, ‘white fat’ that is needed during hibernation and ‘brown fat’ is used to warm the body to enable the resumption of normal activity. So your comment about ‘false fat’ is to my mind a bit strange? The author also states on page 132 that ‘once they achieve a ‘safe’ size they can be released during good weather’
    However I am not suggesting that we mean to release them, but I would like some advice on helping them to hibernate when they have achieved what is considered a ‘good’ survival weight.
    I thank you Vickie for your comments and agree that we have lots left to learn which is why it is important that the advice we are given, be it from a book or an individual needs to be accurate. As you said we are all on the same side here.xx


    To be frank I don’t really know what you want here. I don’t want to get into an argument on here with anyone, I am a very experienced rehabilitator and only advise when asked. At the end of the day it’s up to you how to proceed.
    Pat Morris also mentions the need for brown fat in order for the animal to rouse itself out of hibernation. It needs both as I’m sure you will have read.
    As with humans hogs need to build fat stores in a sensible way – when we take hogs into captivity we disrupt their ‘normal’ uptake of nutrients and how they lay them down into their bodies. It is very common for captive hogs to get fat in a bad way.
    If you plan to let them hibernate then you will need to make sure they are housed outside where they are cold, although perhaps sheltered from extreme weather. But be aware in captivity hogs will not always hibernate.
    Hedgehogs have to get themselves ready for hibernation – they effectively detox their systems over a period of time.
    You will need to leave a permanant source of food/water
    I repeat again that at the weight your hogs are I would not release – I would overwinter and release in spring.

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    Hi dbaker4718
    To be honest, it seems to me you are beginning to over complicate things. Stef didn’t say ‘false fat’ she said “…The weight they gain in captivity is quick due to all the free food and ‘false’….”. I took that to refer to a rehabilitated hog being likely to very quickly lose the weight on release. You might be interested in

    I, for one, appreciate, and think we on the forum are very lucky, that an experienced rehabilitator like Stef, gives us the time and patience to pass on some of her knowledge – particularly when she must be very busy at this time of year with large numbers of under-weight hoglets etc. This sort of information – stemming as it does from actual experience over a period of time, is invaluable and we can all learn from it. I certainly have.

    I hope you find you are also able to learn from Stef’s advice and that the three hoglets safely survive the winter. I admire you for trying to help the little ones. Good luck.

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