What Should You Do If You Find An Injured Hedgehog? Rescue Sick, Injured, and Orphaned Hedgies

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What Should You Do If You Find An Injured Hedgehog

Last summer, we found a wild hedgehog resting in our backyard. We wouldn’t have doubted the situation if it were nighttime (Hedgehogs are strictly nocturnal). But as it was midday, we got suspicious and ran to the quill ball. 

And guess what? We were right. The creature was dead sick and needed our help. 

Countrymen are familiar with such a scene, but most don’t know what to do with that sick hedgehog. Unfortunately, your callousness to the situation can kill that innocent pocket animal.

So, what should you do if you find an injured hedgehog? Keep reading, and you will get your answers. 



How Do You Help An Injured Hedgehog? 

According to a National Biodiversity Network report, the hedgehog population in the UK is in decline (30 – 75%). Unfortunately, this is not just the UK. These hedgies are disappearing all around the world, and we can not afford to lose any more. 

It is high time we took responsibility and came forward to rescue injured and sick prickly balls. Here is how to help a sick hedgehog

1. Interacting with An Injured Hedgehog 

What Should You Do If You Find An Injured Hedgehog
source: https://www.stroudnewsandjournal.co.uk/news/14518501.warning-to-gardeners-in-stroud-after-braveheart-the-hedgehog-injured-by-strimmer/

People are usually scared of touching a hedgehog because of the spines. If you are new to hedgehog rescuers, do not forget to wear gloves. In fact, we encourage everyone to wear gloves when handling a wild hedgie. 

Hedgehog Sanctuary declares that wild quill balls might carry germs, ticks, and mites on their bodies. Not to mention that these hedgies are scared and tend to bite. Wearing the thick rubber gloves gives protection against the sharp thorns and bites. 

What happens if you do not have gloves with you? Slip your hand under the tummy of the uncurled hedgehog and pick it up. However, it will hurt when the creature curls on your palm or changes turns. Be aware of the pain, and do not drop the animal. 

2. Manage A Transportation Housing 

Call an animal rescue center or a vet when you encounter a hedgehog in the daytime. These creatures are super sensitive, and experimenting on their wounds will only make things worse. 

It is possible that the rescue shelter sends men and takes over the hog’s entire responsibility. However, in some cases, you might have to transport the hedgehog to the hospital. 

Of course, you can not carry the wounded hedgie on your lap. This will make the creature more stressed. Temporary housing can be a solution here. But will hedgehogs use a litter box in this scenario? 

The answer is no. Hedgehog Bottom suggests using deep boxes while transporting the hedgie. A long-sided cardboard box with tiny holes to pass oxygen will work. 

Remember, hedgehogs are the masters of escaping and can get out of the shallow boxes effortlessly. A shallow container with lids will also not work. These little creatures will use their weight to push the top and run. 

Bonus Tips: Make sure that the box bottom is dry. Otherwise, the hedgehog will feel cold and suffer from hypothermia. 

3. A Heating Source Is Mandatory for The Time Being 

The Hogsprickle claims that most rescued hedgehogs are cold. They refuse any further treatment until they are warm. 

We recommend you lay out the bottom with shredded newspaper first. This will give the hedgehogs a ground to dig into and relax. Shredded newspapers also act as low-end insulators. Still, we can not rely on it entirely. 

Our suggestion is to wrap the hedgie with a towel or a blanket. This will keep the creature warm and raise its body temperature. However, make sure there is enough ventilation available inside the box and that it does not get super hot. 

If necessary, you can microwave the towel for 30 seconds. It will provide the hedgehog with warmth. 

Placing a hot water bottle at one end of the box is an excellent idea. This really helps the sick hedgie to get out of hypothermia. As you place the bottle at one end, it creates a temperature gradient inside the box. Therefore, the hedgehog can choose between warmer and cooler spots.

4. Do You Offer Any Food or Water? 

Dehydrated hedgehogs require water to stabilize for the moment. While offering the creatures a little water does not harm them, we do not suggest giving them meals right away. 

What if you feed a dehydrated hedgehog dried food? What then? Its case will worsen. Right? 

So, leave the meals to the experts. The vets will offer the hedgies proper food when the time is right. However, you might only give them a little something to eat if you are sure of their condition. 


When Exactly Does A Hedgehog Need Your Help? 

When Exactly Does A Hedgehog Need Your Help
source: https://www.wildlifeaid.org.uk/rescue-stories/hedgehog-attacked-by-garden-strimmer

Little Silver Hedgehog confirms that hedgehogs spotted outdoors during the daytime are the biggest red flags. The chances are high that the creature is sick or needs help. 

Hornbeam Wood Hedgehog Sanctuary sheds more light on this topic. According to the organization, hedgehogs in the mentioned situations need help, 

1. The Signs of Injuries Are Visible 

We, the hedgehog keepers, can easily distinguish a sick hedgie from a healthy one. But that is not the case for general people. Hence, we can not always expect their help to save ill hedgehogs. 

However, identifying injured hedgie is not a big deal. Therefore, anyone can come forward to rescue the wounded creatures. 

Jaw, mouth, nose, eye, head, and leg injuries are common in wild spine balls. They get these physical traumas due to a predatory attack or road accident. Signs of wounds are,

  • Blocked eyes
  • Limping or wobbling 
  • Open jaw 
  • Brown teeth 
  • Blood stains all over the body, etc.

2. You Have Found A Hoglet 

Just so you know, baby hoglets can take care of themselves. But if you find a hedgehog smaller than a tennis ball, it definitely needs a hand. Our best guess is that the kid’s mother has been killed or a predator is nearby. 

Hoglets under 300 grams also ask for help. They have no fat reservoir to survive the winter. Generally, a curled-up hoglet with closed eyes, black and white spines, and pink skin signals urgent attention. 

3. The Hedgehog Looks Thirsty 

Heatstroke is real for hedgehogs. A dehydrated quill ball will lay on its belly, stretching its legs outwards. Hedgies can suffer from heatstroke during summer and even winter. You can locate the sick hedgehogs lying out in an open space during the daytime.

4. You Can Spot Worm Attacks 

Wild hedgehogs are more prone to injuries. Open wounds often attract larvae, flies, ticks, and mites. A hedgie with a flystrike is in pain and continuous discomfort. Leaving the animal in this condition only worsens its health. 

5. The Hedgie Is Shivering 

Hedgehogs demand a hibernation nest to survive the winter in the wild. Unable to find a suitable burrow will lead to hypothermia. It is a terrible situation to witness. 

The hedgie runs frantically to warm its body. If it fails, the creature starts shivering, eventually losing mobility and starting to limp. Sadly, a hedgehog can die of hypothermia. 


Conclusion

Most hedgehogs spotted in daylight do need your help. When you find a sick or injured hedgie, seek immediate help from your local rescue center, wildlife rehabilitator, or vet. You can not lose time, as every second counts. 


FAQs

Can a hedgehog survive with a broken leg?

Vets can pin freshly fractured legs and rehabilitate the hedgehogs into the wild. However, for an old fracture, it is not possible to fix the legs. Unfortunately, hedgehogs with an amputated or permanently broken front leg can not survive on their own. 

Where can I take an injured hedgehog near me?

Try contacting the nearest animal rescue center in your locality. You should take the injured hedgehog to the shelter as soon as possible. If you can not reach out to the rescue center, seek help from the vet hospitals.

What are the signs of pain in hedgehogs?

Hedgehogs cry (squeal or peep) when they are in excruciating pain. Spine loss, flystrike, fracture, discolored feces, etc., also indicate discomfort. A sick or injured hedgie often wobbles and acts abnormally. For example, in spite of being nocturnal, the creature will be out in the daylight. 

What do you do if you find a small hedgehog?

If you spot a hoglet roaming around in the daytime, it definitely needs rescuing. The chances are that the baby has lost its mother or its mom has been killed. A hoglet is sensitive, and you can not take care of it at home. So, you better call the rescue center for further help. 

Is it OK to pick up a hedgehog?

We discourage touching wild hedgehogs without any reason. Human interaction can traumatize the creatures. But if the animal requires rescuing, wear gloves and scoop up the hedgie with both hands. Then, transport the creature to the nearest rescue center immediately.

About the author

Susana

Susana

Susana Jean, Pocket Pet Expert and Sugar Glider Aficionado Hi everyone! I’m Susana Jean, your go-to wordsmith and pet enthusiast who has a special place in her heart for the fascinating world of sugar gliders.…Continue reading

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