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Which hedgehogs need help in winter?

Home Forums Carers / rescuing a hedgehog Which hedgehogs need help in winter?

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    I know we talk about this a lot but no harm on putting up here again, in case new people come to the site.


    bit confused now – should I rescue hedgehogs that are 600g or less now – as I’ve only weighed two and under 450g

    If they are in between 450g and 600g – should I rescue them – even if they are healthy and using the feeding station. I might be reading it wrong, but if they are inbetween this weight should we only rescue if the ground is frozen or likely to be frozen.

    It’s just that all the hospitals are full right now – if we rescue a hedgehog inbetween 450g and 600g and healthy – would it be mean on another hog that’s poorly or under 450g.

    If we have feeding stations, and we know that hog is using the feeding station, should we just leave it?

    Even this article says it’s now 600g – I feel a bit reluctant to rescue if above 450g

    what does everyone else think?


    I’ll text the hospital tmrw and find out what she recommends – just that I think Sweetpea’s sibling is using my hedgehog house, gets most of the food in the feeding station, spent a week every night collecting leaves, along with handfuls of straw I kept leaving in the tunnel, plus had plenty of straw in before he moved in so must be very snug in there now?

    He seems like a healthy weight – it’s gonna be minus 2 degrees in my area monday night – I don’t mind weighing him if I see him, but really do not want to keep him in a box overnight if over 450g but under 600g.

    Especially as there are plenty of other hedgehogs that will be under 450g that need rescuing.


    After reading a thread dated 10th nov – where Stef and Nic was commenting, I’ll only rescue if under 450g – I think 600g is for release when in captivity.

    It would be more helpful if the article was a bit more clearer.

    Given that the I’ve got a feeding station, and given that the rescue centres are all full and the one I use was double the capacity a month ago, and probably triple now – and there’s a constant stream of hedgehogs that are close to death, I’m not bringing in a healthy hedgehog who knows where the food is.


    I would leave well alone. A healthy HH who has a regular food source is best left wild if possible. A captive hog can be very stressed.


    yep – I was going to text the hospital today to ask which weight she recommends – someone asked her the same question on her facebook page – her response said she’d like to see them reach 600g before hibernation. So I ended up choosing not to pester her.

    But I think, given the hospitals are brimming, also as they have access to my feeding station, and given that it’s not healthy for them indoors (increases the internal nasties), I don’t want to rescue if above 450g –

    In any case, the hospital wouldn’t take them in, they would probably ask if I saw it in the night or day, ask if it has supplementary food, and then tell me to release anyway.

    So no point.

    Ideally it would be nice to rescue them all – but I think we have to allow for nature to take it’s course.

    I shouldn’t have posted this article, because at the end of the day – the article doesn’t account for the fact that the hospitals are all full this time of year. It could lead people to think that hospitals will always take on under 600g – which, isn’t the case, many aren’t taking them in at all.

    In addition, I’ve known that I’ve had autumn juveniles in since end of October, but decided then to leave them to fatten up naturally before I started weighing, but it got colder, and only weighed the two (Calvin and Sweetpea), that was a couple of weeks ago -have I left it too late? Should I start weighing them end of October next year?

    Thing is, if the weather has turned colder but still fairly mild, is it not better to wait a week or two before it gets colder, or rescue them earlier for better chance of survival?

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    Hedgie Lover, I think you need to slow down a bit. I sent you the link from BHPS.
    They got together with other experts to come up with an authoritative view about minimmum weights required for hibernation. That is the advice you need to follow.

    The information from the BHPS says 450g for a hog in the wild and 600g for one which has been in captivity. Even 450g depends on how late in the year it is and hoglets which are being fed, attending for feeding regularly and seem otherwise healthy may not need rescuing until later in any given year.

    Prior to BHPS producing that information many rescues did give out the information that it should be 600g for a hog in the wild. But that is the sort of thing that led to many of the rescues being filled up far too early, with hogs that didn’t need rescuing. Which is partly why that information was brought out by the BHPS, I believe. It’s possible some rescues may still not be aware of the information from BHPS.

    It also seems likely that some hogs are being ‘rescued’ too early. It is not the easy option for a hog to be over-wintered in captivity. It’s very stressful for them and not all will survive.

    You really need to read that information through carefully. If you make too many posts about this, not only you, but others may become confused. I know it is only because you are so enthusiastic, but you can’t save the whole of hedgehogkind in a day! Maybe read a bit more and write a bit less. If you are going to look after more hoglets in the future you will need to be familiar with this sort of information from BHPS.

    If you want to find out more about hogs, there is loads of information on Hedgehog Street. It’s well worth checking it out. Have a look under ‘Help Hedgehogs’ and ‘All about Hedgehogs’ at the top of the page. Check out all the links contained in the information as well. Lots of really interesting stuff.


    You’re totally right – I kind of think and type what I’m thinking – rather than finding out things for myself and then posting –

    I have been on this forum pretty much all day – I need a break from it now.

    And yes I’m stressing way too much.

    It’s my first winter with hedgehogs and I’m a bit in the woods about what to do with them, but I’m learning – with the help from people like you.

    I’ve just seen two hedgies in the feeding station, and I chose not to weigh them – they looked alright weight size – so I’m making progress.

    I’ll be much better prepared next year.

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    Yes, Hedgie Lover, I think you deserve a break. You were working very hard when you had Sweetpea. I expect you are missing her a bit and needing to filll your time up.

    You’ll soon learn more, don’t worry. There are loads of sources on line as well as what’s on Hedgehog Street. But the basics are pretty straightforward. All we need to do is offer some food and water and a house or two if we wish. Mostly, the hogs pretty much look after themselves, as they have for millions of years without our help.

    The very best thing you can do for the hogs is link gardens and improve the habitat in your garden for them. Maybe that’s something you can think about over the winter when most, if not all the hogs are hibernating. Most of us can find more ways to make our gardens hog friendly.


    Thanks Nic – Sweetpea was the first thing I thought about when I woke up – when I do that, that’s when I know I’m in love. But I’m more relieved than missing her if you get what I mean. I really don’t want to rescue another one this year – I’m glad the hogs left are over 450g –

    However, I’m really looking forward to volunteering and doing the morning clean once a week eventually, and I’ll learn lots there, and become more calmer about things, and I’ll thoroughly enjoy it. But it’s different looking after a hedgehog yourself, than just doing a morning clean each week, being supervised by experienced volunteers and the owner.

    It’s been a really busy night tonight hog wise – it’s been really quiet lately, so I bet – tonight, or sometime this week, could be their last feed perhaps?

    But regardless, I’m gonna top up with food every day and fresh water every day – it’s part of my routine now, like brushing my teeth.

    There’s been 4 within the hour – which is really busy for me at the moment – I’m lucky if I see one or two per night.

    I don’t need to worry about linking gardens in my area at the moment – because I live in a council maisonette – It’s like a house, split into four – one above me, one next to me. And I have a front garden which is my own garden which I’m responsible for, and also the side garden. I should have a fence but it had all been broken off when I moved in, so I dug out the remains of it and chucked it. Then the back garden is massive – and that’s communal, and the communal garden stretches along the street for all the maisonettes, theres no fences. It’s not just wide it’s very long too.

    And there are trees and loads of bushes along the sides of it, where some of the hedgies probably have nests, and then there is a school with massive grounds, it has a fence but all the hedgies, and the fox can fit underneath it as it’s not flush to the ground, then there is an older fence, you know those old school fences that are bars, well the hedgies come in between the bars easily, as each bar is about a cd width apart, and then further along the bars stop and then there’s just a line of trees instead, and that’s where some of the hedgies have made nests as there’s plenty of brash that was already there when I moved in.

    What the issue is, I could do with informing my neighbours about the hedgehogs and getting them to help with looking after them too, cos It would be really good if the population increases, because if I die, who’s gonna feed them.? And if there are others that do already feed them? are they feeding them the right stuff.

    The neigbours that I know, have seen the hedgehogs but they don’t want to spend their time and enjoy getting involved with them, which is fine, but the ones that do, they could do with knowing about what to feed them with.

    And then I’ve got a strimmer issue which I’m most bothered about – as the council comes round with the strimmer every two weeks from april til sept – and they’ve damaged all my potted plants – I did tell the council, and I also let someone know who came round with a strimmer, and he was really careful cos he also had hedgehogs, feeding station and house, but he isn’t the usual guy that comes round – so anyway, a friend of mine, her daughter made me a lovely sign to say careful strimming, so that needs to go into the ground in time for spring, and if I see them strim, I’ll just have to keep telling them.

    That’s the main issue at the moment. But for linking the gardens, I think this is a good spot due to the communal gardens, so that might be the reason why there is an existing hedgehog population here.


    also, the hedgehogs, as the gardens have no fences, they can easily wander off to the local park, and then there’s a nature reserve nearby – so it’s likely they’ve originated from the nature reserve, and migrated around here, maybe there’s a lot more hedgehogs living in the nature reserve. So it’s not hedgehog heaven, I live in an urban place, not rural, but linking gardens isn’t an issue round here – cos there’s no fences. As long as the school doesn’t make improvements to there fence in the future it would be okay. I might write to the school anyway, and talk about litter – cos there is a massive problem with the school kids dropping it – and I could tell them about the population, let them know that their grounds have wildlife in it, as they probably don’t know.

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    Hi Hedgie Lover

    Yes, I know what you mean. Even if it’s a releif, when you’ve invested such a lot of time in looking after her, you are bound to feel a bit at a loss, to start with and feel as if you suddenly have lots of spare time.

    Sounds as if you have a lovely place for the hogs, accesswise. Maybe you could have a chat with your slightly further away neighbours to see if anyone else is interested. But you could also see if the school were interested in being involved. Someone else was asking recently about how to involve their neighbouring college:

    Hedgehogs are actually having a harder time in the country than they are in urban and suburban areas. Gardens can be ideal habitat for them, whereas large fields and less hedges than there used to be, not so good.

    The strimmer thing is a problem. The most important thing is to get them to check the long grass and vegetation before they strim. Possibly with a blunt ended stick, like a broom handle. A hog might not like being pushed by a stick, but that is preferable to being strimmed. Better a grumpy hog than a dead or severely injured one. If they find one, maybe they could put the hog safely in a box whilst they are strimming and then return it to where they found it. Or you could do that for them, if you’re around. This is some information from BHPS FAQs, which you could use when talking to the people who strim:
    Help! I’ve harmed a hedgehog whilst strimming.

    Undoubtedly one of the most worrying calls we receive. PLEASE check areas thoroughly before strimming or mowing. These injuries are usually horrific and the hedgehog often has to be put to sleep, of course many are killed instantly with this kind of accident. Do check for hoglets as the nest you have strimmed could be a nursery nest.

    They also have losts of posters, including this one:

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    Another extract from BHPS ‘Gardening with Wildlife’
    Wild Patches – STRIMMERS MUTILATE – take care when mowing long grass and tidying wild patches, as they are an ideal place for a hedgehog’s nest. When cutting long overgrown areas check for hedgehogs and other wildlife, then cut initially to about a foot long. Check again before cutting any lower. Providing a suitable nesting or hibernating box can help prevent accidental disturbance. Bin bags left at ground level will also attract hedgehogs and they may try to nest in them and get put out for the dustcart.

    A good idea cutting to a foot high before doing the rest.


    Thanks, Nic, what I’ll do, on a free day, Print some flyers from Hedgehog Street and the poster that you’ve posted on the link above, and post them around my area.

    It would be good to get the school involved, as when I’m working for the conservation centre, we create a lot of nature areas for primary schools. It is a high school, but there is also a primary school next to it, so I’ll tell them both – then I’ve got a good reason to talk about rubbish! and why it’s especially bad for hedgehogs.


    I saw a hedgehog in the feeding station last night (it was exceptionally busy last night), and didn’t look much bigger than Sweetpea, so I weighed her, as it’s hard to tell sometimes (they often look smaller in the feeding station than they do when they are walking away from it)

    She/he came at 470g , (didn’t rescue her) which isn’t ideal, still slightly small for hibernation, anyway, hope yesterday wasn’t the last night before the juveniles go into hibernation – I hope she fattens up soon, I did put the last of Sweetpea’s dog food out, as I’m wondering if it has a higher fat content, but not one of the touched it – not used to the smell perhaps?

    I think I’m gonna put a extra bowl out tonight, as only a few biscuits left. Want them to fatten up quick!

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