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Baby hedgehog

Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Baby hedgehog

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    I still have about 3 hedgehogs visiting my garden but I have just seen a tiny baby hog, he looks ok and I stayed to make sure he was eating, should I be doing anything extra to make sure he is ok?

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    Hi rossyb

    It’s great that you’re feeding the little hog, but if it’s really tiny and it tries to hibernate it might not make it. So the best thing to do is weigh the little one. The minimum recommended weight to survive hibernation is 450g, although it might get away with being a little bit less if it’s attending regularly for food and you are in a milder part of the country.

    I would contact your nearest carer – you should be able to get a list of the nearest ones from the BHPS – and take their advice. They will be familiar with your local weather conditions. If the hog is really small, they may be able to take it in for over-wintering. If they do, make sure that you can have it back afterwards to release it where it came from.

    Before you weigh the little hog, I would have a box/pet carrier ready in case it is very light. I usually put sheets of newspaper on the floor, because they almost inevitably spill some of the food and water you will need to provide. You can either use torn up strips of paper for the hog to burrow into, or some people use small towels. Be aware that hogs are excellent at escaping from boxes.

    You will need some thick gloves (gardening gloves are ok) because their spines are very sharp when they roll up. I usually weigh them in those 1 litre ice cream containers. An underweight hog easily fits in one. If you try to put them directly on the scales and you get a wriggly hoglet, it might be a bit difficult!

    If the hog is over 450g you can release immediately, where you got it from. They soon forget about being weighed. If under 450g. take the advice of your local carer, as above. Keep feeding and providing water for the hogs as long as they are still around.

    Good luck. Let us know how you get on.


    I called our local spca centre a few weeks ago as I had a juvenile hog out in the day and wandering around my garden. I am very pleased to say they took him in for over wintering but… they said that I couldn’t have him back as they take them to a central site hoping they will mate in the spring! I keep reading since then like you said Nic that we should get them back.


    I took a little one to our local rescue and they have said they will take care of it until March then we will get her back. They should to go back to the area they come from.

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    You are absolutely right, Granny Edie and Kb70, in all but a very few circumstances, where it is inapproptiate, the hogs should be returned to where they came from.

    The people who are taking care of the hoglet from your garden, Granny Edie, are doing a great job looking after the hoglets, but they are wrong not to allow the hoglets to be released back where they came from. Even a hoglet will have learnt it’s own home range and will do much better if that is where it’s returned. I suggest that you give them a copy of the above mentioned document.

    They could be doing more harm than good releasing them from a central site. If there are other hogs in the area, it could putting them at risk, not only because of the sudden increase in population and the consequent impact on food resources, but also they may introduce infections to which the existing hogs do not have any resistance. Likewise the newly released hogs may not have resistance to any infections to which the local population are immune. If there are no hogs in the area, there is a reason for that, possibly that the habitat is not suitable.

    In addition, if hogs are not returned to their home range, they are likely to be completely disoriented. A hog returned to it’s home range will remember it.

    It should not be beyond the wit of even the busiest of hog rehabilitators to keep a record of where hogs have come from. I would suggest that anyone who takes a hog to a rehabilitator, not only makes sure that they have the appropriate information available (i.e. the above mentioned leaflet), but that they leave their name and address and preferably a donation so that the hog can be easily returned to where it came from.

    It seems tragic that people are spending so much time helping the hogs and then actually potentially harming, not only those, but other hogs, by releasing them other than where they came from.

    The British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS), British Wildlife Rehabilitation Council (BWRC), The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), Vale Wildlife Hospital (VWH) and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) ….. together with Dr Nigel Reeve and Dr Pat Morris have gone to the trouble of putting together the above mentioned leaflet. Anyone who cares about hedgehogs please copy this and pass it on to anyone who is caring for/rehabilitating hedgehogs. Too many hogs are being put at risk for lack of this information.

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    p.s. I should have said leave your name, address and phone number.

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