Glossary & References / Miscellaneous Documents ListD84 - The British Hedgehog Preservation Society: Helping Hedgehogs / Text Sections:


Know your Hedgehog

Hedgehog Factsheets


Helping Hedgehogs

Nearly a quarter of the Hedgehogs born into the world die before leaving their nest; probably a half of the rest do not survive their first hibernation. We can all assist those which have endured these early adversities in several ways:-

1. Providing as safe an environment as possible in our gardens and allotments. Whenever possible a small corner should be left as a wildlife sanctuary, the rewards of which will include the pleasure of seeing visiting Hedgehogs, as well as the knowledge that they will be helping in clearing the ground of pests.

2. Accumulating materials garden rubbish, leaves, brushwood, etc.

- suitable for Hedgehog nests (hibernacula) and supplementing their natural diet of slugs, snails, beetles, worms, caterpillars and suchlike with some protein (e.g. tinned pet food, minced meat, scrambled eggs, grated cheese), particularly in periods of unseasonable weather. A bowl of drinking water should also be available.

3. Caring for baby Hedgehogs as described in the "Know Your Hedgehog" leaflet "Caring for Hoglets".

4. Assisting them to avoid man-made hazards and eliminating such dangers whenever possible:-

Return to top of page

On the roads

Most of us see more squashed Hedgehogs than live ones. Their natural defence mechanism - rolling into a ball - is no protection against ROAD TRAFFIC. All nature-loving people want to do something about this carnage. So, do drive carefully, especially at night, do all you can to avoid Hedgehogs which may be crossing the road and, if it is safe to do so, stop and assist Hedgehogs to get across quickly. And don't forget also to ask your friends to be kind to Hedgehogs on our roads.


Return to top of page

In farming areas

Hedgehogs and many other small animals, as well as birds, frequently cannot escape from the sheer-sided pits beneath cattle and sheep GRIDS. A simple ramp in the grid solves this problem - for further details see the "Know your Hedgehog" leaflet "Ramps".

Return to top of page

In gardens

Unless the manufacturers state otherwise, all PESTICIDES can be dangerous to Hedgehogs and SLUG PELLETS are no exception. Although Hedgehogs may not necessarily eat the pellets, they are very likely to eat the poisoned slugs and snails, and, although these may not be lethal to Hedgehogs, they may cause serious internal damage. So we advise you to use GARDEN CHEMICALS sparingly and, if you must use slug pellets, put them inside pieces of pipe or under stones where Hedgehogs can't get at them. We believe, however, that a "beer-trap" (i.e. a howl of stale beer sunk in the ground) is an equally effective way of killing slugs. In any case, as an extra precaution, all dead slugs should be regularly removed. 

GARDEN RUBBISH frequently provides a home for Hedgehogs and should be carefully turned over before burning. The larger heaps which accumulate for 5th NOVEMBER of course, should always be checked prior to the BONFIRE NIGHT FESTIVITIES.

GRASS, especially if a little longer than usual, is another possible home for Hedgehog families and care is needed before MOWING and STRIMMING.

Hedgehogs can swim and are sometimes attracted to GARDEN PONDS, but they may drown if they cannot get out. So, gardeners should ensure that there are slipways around the edge of the water to enable the Hedgehogs to escape - half submerged rocks or even a piece of chicken wire to be used like a scrambling net are suggested.

NETTING of all kinds - that used for covering plants and fruit, is well as tennis nets, fishing nets and suchlike can be a major hazard as Hedgehogs easily become entangled in them. Their inquisitiveness can also get them into trouble if their heads stick in various kinds of CONTAINERS - empty food cans, yoghurt cups, plastic mugs etc. 4 PACKS - Perhaps even more deadly now are the plastic rings that hold four cans together. Always make sure each circle is cut. What better reasons could there be for always picking up our litter?

Return to top of page

Around and about

Hedgehogs are sometimes subjected to DELIBERATE CRUELTY by heartless or thoughtless people. Should you see this occurring, try to halt it by reasoning with the person concerned or even calling the Police or R.S.P.C.A. If the unfortunate Hedgehog is injured, try to get it to a Veterinary Surgeon, and/or report the matter to the local R.S.P.C.A. In any case, please let the British Hedgehog Preservation Society know about it.

Return to top of page

The aims of the Society are:-

a) To encourage and give advice to the public concerning the care of Hedgehogs particularly when injured, sick, treated cruelly, orphaned or in any other danger
b) To encourage children to respect our natural wild-life-by supplying information and giving lectures, and thus fostering an interest in Hedgehogs
c) to fund serious research into behavioural habits of Hedgehogs and to ascertain the best methods of assisting their survival


For further information please send an s.a.e to:-

The British Hedgehog Preservation Society,
Hedgehog House,
Dhustone, LUDLOW,
Shropshire, SY8 3PL