Read this article - you could save a hedgehog's life - Hayley Matthews

With the SSPCA caring for more than 100 hedgehogs just now, they've put out an appeal for food donations to feed them.

Saturday, 27th November 2021, 4:55 am
Hedgehogs are having a tough time this autumn - but there is lots you can do to help, writes Hayley Matthews. PIC: Pixabay.

The animal welfare charity is seeing a high number of young hedgehog admissions because the animals have been giving birth later in the year due to the mild autumn.

So what do we do if we see a prickly pal in need and what are the signs that they may be unwell or in need of help?

I think a lot of us tend to panic when dealing with wildlife, often not knowing what to do. Sometimes doing nothing is best but sometimes getting involved is crucial to the animals survival. So I thought I'd mention a post about helping hedgehogs that I recently read.

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Seeing a hedgehog lying out in daylight at this time of year means that it is likely very poorly. Even if it’s running around and you think it looks ok, it’s not normal for nocturnal animals to be out in broad daylight- and they never sleep out in the open.

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It went on to advice about not turning a blind eye. I'm very grateful to a friend on Facebook for explaining in more detail what to look for when helping a hedgehog that's spotted in daylight hours. Stopping and observing the situation first is crucial.

If a hedgehog is moving as normal, keep an eye on it although you should still call a rescue charity to be on the safe side. For all we know a hedgehog may have been hibernating and been disturbed with all the recent fireworks going off. I'm not surprised the wildlife feel disorientated.

All wildlife seems to be affected by fireworks, be it the birds who flee their nest, foxes who are frightened, fish who ingest the chemicals after they disperse in the water or stray cats and dogs being spooked. So I'm keeping an eye out for hedgehogs that seem to be acting strange during daylight hours as they may just have been disturbed.

There are many reasons why hedgehogs may be out wandering during the day. Some might be out on the hunt for last minute food to keep them going until winter. Others may have babies to feed or are looking for a spot to hibernate.

My friend also suggested not putting a box over a hedgehog – or putting them in a box - because this may very well stress them out for no reason. Observe their behaviour before lifting.

But, please absolutely help if a hedgehog is lying out in the open, constantly running in circles or moving very slowly. These signs are not good signs and the animal may need urgent help.

In this case a box is a good idea but first put the box in a warm dark quiet place with a little dish of water and wet pet food or cat biscuits. Hedgehogs also like a little ham or chicken. Then, report the animal to the SSPCA.

With wildlife there are so many different ways to help or hinder a situation and I'd genuinely be devastated if I caused more harm than good – hence this article.

SSPCA can be reached on 03000 999 999 and report the animal to them.

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