C. R. A. S. H.

Care Rehabilitation and Aid for Sick Hedgehogs

Angela has put together a series of fact sheets, which include a wealth of information on wild hedgehogs and their welfare. A few examples are shown here, please click on the link above for the full selection.


They are a bit smelly, walk through their own food and water bowls, even messing in them as they go.
Their favourite trick is to stomp food into newspaper lining their box, tip over the water bowl, mix it all together adding a good helping of droppings, mash it all in, then tear up the resultant mess into strips and start making a nest! Apart from the mess they make, hedgehogs are nocturnal creatures and usually only appear at night when they think no one will be around. Another good reason for not keeping them as pets is because they are never happy in captivity and the stress it causes usually shortens their lives dramatically. When a hedgehog has to be kept in captivity for a while due to injuries etc. they have been known to give up hope and die for no other reason than their desperate need to be back in the wild.     


Not really, they can see things very close but probably not in great detail. A hedgehog normally relies on it's nose to find food. If you are lucky enough to see one searching for food, it will have its nose in the air or on the ground, sniffing everywhere it goes. Food can be detected even under an inch of soil and a human can be smelt many yards away. Ears are another matter, although small, they are very sensitive and play and important role in helping to detect their lunch. They can easily hear a beetle scurrying by or a bug rustling about underground.   


With our help they can live as long as ten years in the wild. However, without help they usually only survive for two or three years.
The first few weeks of life are likely to be its last! About 20% of hoglets die before leaving the nest.  The next big hurdle is their first winter, around three quarters of hedgehogs never see their first birthday! The majority die during their first hibernation, a very dangerous time for them. The few that survive will see their chances of surviving a second and third winter greatly increased but with all the added hazards a hedgehog has to face from cars, falling into deep ponds, pesticides etc. its future is not too good. Probably, about four hedgehogs in a thousand might reach the age of ten but it will be very rare indeed for any hedgehog to live longer than that.   


Apart from their natural food of slugs, snails, beetles and the like, they welcome a nightly dish of tinned cat food, any brand but not any of the fish varieties. They will eat almost any meat, leftovers, mince either raw or cooked, chicken, etc. They can eat about half a tin each night. Some also like digestive biscuits as a treat. NEVER GIVE BREAD OR MILK. They cannot digest milk and it gives them severe diarrhoea, which leads to dehydration and death within  a couple of days. Always make sure they have easy access to clean water at all times. A shallow bowl  or container sunk into the ground makes an excellent watering hole. 


Yes, they inherit them from their mothers in the nest but hedgehog fleas are very different to those sometimes found on dogs or cats. Hedgehog fleas only live on hedgehogs. They like the cool open environment of the coarse and widely spaced spines where it can run fast. If it finds itself in the dense, warm coat of a dog or cat, it  immediately knows it's in the wrong place and drops off to wait for another hedgehog. The same goes for hedgehog fleas that get onto humans, they do not stay long before leaving to find a proper host. If they are a nuisance, you should lightly dust with Johnsons RID-MITE or similar powder suitable for use on cage birds.
DO NOT spray or treat with anything intended for flea control on domestic pets, IT WILL KILL THE HEDGEHOG.