Happy Hedgehog Day – 2nd February
Having lived in a rural town for most of my life, seeing hedgehogs wandering about was a pretty common occurance. I loved them. I don’t know why, but I always found them fascinating. So the night that my Dad found an injured spiky guy in our garden, I was understandably very excited. When this all happened I was about eight years old and it wasn’t my responsibility to look after the tiny creature Dad had found. I helped feed it, yes, but I didn’t really know what I was doing. I just stared at him a lot and hoped he understood why. Once he was well enough to leave, Dad and I released him back into the garden. I’m pretty sure I shed a few tears that night too.
This experience as a child has stuck with me throughout my adulthood but if it were to happen again now I wouldn’t really know what I was doing. Of course, I would want to help the hedgehog I found but I really wouldn’t know how to do it. As it’s Hedgehog Day on the 2nd of February I thought it would be a good idea to educate myself – just in case I find myself in that situation again.
A Hedgehog in Need
Hedgehogs hibernate between November and March, so you generally won’t see them through this time. If you do happen to see one, it could just be changing its nesting site but, if you suspect that it is sick or injured here are some things you can do to help.
- Prepare a cardboard box with high sides – you can line it with a towel and scrunched up newspapers so that your tiny friend has a place to hide if they want.
- Always wear gloves when handling a hedgehog. Gardening gloves would be your best option.
- Always be gentle when handling hedgehogs. They aren’t used to it and it will probably be quite stressful for them.
- Once your new friend is in their box make sure it’s kept somewhere warm and quiet.
- Provide some freshwater and meaty dog or cat food for them. Never feed them directly.
It is always useful to get in touch with The British Hedgehog Preservation Society and they can give you more detailed advice on how to look after the hedgehog.
Other Ways to Help
There are lots of ways that you can help care for hedgehogs in the wild, even if they aren’t injured or sick. If you want more information on how to keep a safe environment and attract hedgehogs and other wildlife to your garden here are some useful links for you:
How to Build a Hedgehog Home.
The Wildlife Trusts
The British Hedgehog Preservation Society
How to Create a Hedgehog Hole
How to Attract Hedgehogs and Badgers to Your Garden