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Looking for tips on caring for a juvenile

Home Forums Carers / rescuing a hedgehog Looking for tips on caring for a juvenile

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    I’m new to the site and was hoping for a few helpful tips. I found a youngish hedgehog out during the day on Wenesday. It was walking around in our school car park. I called the local rescue centre but she was full. As I’m very interested in Hedgehogs I was very keen to try and help so following her advice I have brought it home and it is now living in my summer house/ shed in the garden. It is in a large long high sided plastic box covered with newspaper. It has a smaller card board box within it and has lots of hay and ripped up newspaper. It has wet cat food and dry cat food and water available. The first night, Wednesday it ate 100g of wet food. It has eaten less than that over the last 2 nights. I was worried so brought the box in the house and i saw it eating more last night. I have weighed it and it is 450g. I have put the box back in the shed now. I just want to check I’m doing the right things. I clean its poo out and change food and water every morning. Should I bring it in the house if it is not eating? I’ve bought some hedgehog food should I try that? Are wheat bags safe to use? How much should it be eating? Sorry I know that’s a lot of questions and info just want to give it the best chance to get to 600g and a chance to survive. Thanks for any help I get.


    I’m also very new to this, am caring for two at the moment but am being supported by my local rescue (also full at well over 50 🦔!), very grateful,they are at the end of the phone!
    * they are great escape artists and can climb much higher than you’d think, beware yours doesn’t get out of its crate! I have a zoozone (medium) lent to me, easy to clean and keeps off drafts. It’s lined with newspaper and have used shredded appear for bedding, all gets cleaned and changed daily. Careful what you clean with too, as detergents may leave a residue that hog may lick off surfaces. Cleaner I use is supplied by rescue centre, but is same one vets use.
    * weigh daily, if same weight for three days in a row or weight loss contact experienced carer.
    * ‘my’ two are kept in the garage on heat pads, same as one used for dogs, if you choose to keep out of hog house use netting to prevent flies (attracted by wet food, and yes are still about!)
    * I feed a mixture of meat-based kitten kibble and wet, few sunflower seeds and scattering of mealworm.

    There will be others more knowledgable than I to folllow I’m sure, and well done for stepping up to save this little 🦔


    Thanks for your reply. It’s been a week now and in a week he has put on about 30g so not a lot. He seems quite active and is eating but not a full 100g wet cat food. Trying him on Hog food and he seems to like that. It’s been pretty cold so I’ve brought him into the house in his box and covered with a bed sheet hope that’s ok? Hopefully will eat more. I don’t like to disturb him everyday as he is very snuggled in his nest so general cleaning daily but only a full clean and weighing at the weekend is that the right thing to do? Thanks again.


    I found a young hedgehog (about 10 weeks old) out in the daytime a couple of weeks ago. Normally they say if you find a hedgehog out during the day you should take it to the vets. This one had a definite lung infection and where I was I knew the local vet would treat it. Unfortunately it died. The vets where I live now don’t treat wildlife and rely on the goodwill of individuals to look after the wildlife which is sad they are few and far between in rural communities.


    I answer with a question to people who have fed hedgehogs to let them gain weight for the winter: Would it be a good idea to put some food oil in catfood?

    Is it enough energy in catfood for a hedgehog to gain weight? If not, would it be good to supplement it with some oil?

    Avatar photo

    Hi H.mac
    I am pleased to hear the little one is still ok.

    I don’t have any actual experience of caring for underweight hoglets (other than for a night or two) but have picked up a bit of information from the Forum, etc. The problem is the experts in this area are probably all extremely busy with large numbers of hoglets to look after. To save repeating myself, you might like to look at: where I copied some information from Stef and included another link.

    To my inexpert mind, 30g in a week doesn’t sound very much for a little one and I wonder whether it would be worth getting it checked out, at least, for internal parasites.

    I can understand why you don’t want to disturb the little one too much, but have always understood that ‘confined’ hogs should be cleaned out daily. Apart from the mess, they seem to be very good at spilling water and potentially making their bedding wet. If you have another prepared box to put him/her in while you are cleaning out, it shouldn’t upset him/her too much.

    I have also picked up that it is probably too late to release a hog into the wild until the Spring, now, especially as the winter weather seems to have set in. Even when the hoglet reaches the 600g weight, I think you will need to keep him/her in and keep feeding and watering.

    Good luck. I hope all goes well.

    Hi Hoglet

    Sorry to hear the little one you found didn’t make it. Sadly, even with expert rehabilitators, not all the hoglets will survive.

    Sad to hear that your local vets won’t treat wildlife. I always thought they all did, although I suspect they wouldn’t go to such lengths as a hedgehog rehabilitator might go and I wouldn’t expect them to house them.

    Hi Jens

    The following is an extract from

    “….Hedgehogs have a propensity for eating almost anything and will readily consume high fat foods (e.g. cat food, processed meats, etc.) put out in gardens and if offered in captivity. Hedgehog metabolism is geared to the digestion of high protein invertebrate prey and unrestricted access to high-fat foods can result in fatty liver disease, obesity and coronary complications as is seen among humans….”

    So, from that, I would think probably not and that good protein is better. Their metabolism would be geared up to converting that into the particular types of fats which they need to survive and recover from hibernation.

    There is loads of other interesting information about hedgehogs on that site, if you are interested.

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