http://www.jerseyhedgehogs.co.uk - JERSEY HEDGEHOG PRESERVATION GROUP
Caring for Jersey's hedgehogs - jerseyhedgehogs@hotmail.co.uk 01534 734340
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LOOKING AFTER ORPHANS WHO CAN EAT FOR THEMSELVES.....PLEASE SEEK ADVICE URGENTLY IF YOU HAVE FOUND VERY YOUNG UNWEANED HOGLETS - WITH NO TEETH OR EYES STILL SHUT....

 

The Hedgehog breeding season goes from May to October in Jersey and so babies and small hedgehogs can be found wandering around out of their nests in daylight during these months and also in the winter.   If you live in Jersey please phone us on 734340 or take it to your vet. If you live in the UK please take it to your vet or local wildlife hospital or phone the British Hedgehog Preservation Society for advice and the phone number of a hedgehog carer in your area: 01584 890801.  Usually young hedgehogs found out in daylight will need medicines if they are going to survive, if you are able to find experienced or professional care, there is a better chance of survival, but you may live a long way from a wildlife hospital or rescue centre: in which case the following may be of some help.

In the winter months from November to March any hedgehog weighing less than  550-600g will need extra help to survive, even if found after dark.  Please seek advice as this changes according to time of year and weather conditions.  The hedgehog should be picked up with gloves or in an old towel and brought into the house, put in a box with some clean bedding and some cat or dog food and a bowl of water while help is called for - if you find it late at night please wait until the next morning before calling unless the hedgehog is injured or obviously very poorly.

However, if you find the hedgehog wandering around in daytime that is a sure sign that it is in need of help, whatever its weight.  Please pick it up as above and keep it warm on a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel, and phone for advice.

HOUSING:
a large cardboard box  or rabbit hutch well lined with newspaper, with a smaller box filled with ripped up newspaper or hay at one end and a bowl of water and some dog/cat food. 
This must be changed and cleaned at least once a day. Use disinfectant safe for animals available from pet shops. (Don’t use shredded office paper for bedding, this can rub sores on their shoulders when they make a nest in it.)  
WARMTH IS VITAL for small and weak hedgehogs, keep them on a well-wrapped hot water bottle or heat pad and keep the box in a warm room or boiler house (16-18C) rather than in an unheated shed or garage until they are bigger.

SUMMER BABIES:  
keep warm inside with a heat pad or hot water bottle until 300g

                                    keep inside without extra heat until 450g

                                    keep in enclosed garden or outside enclosure until 550-650g

Summer babies can be released at 550g until the end of August, if they do not achieve this weight by then, wait until they weigh 650g or more. (See below for release information).

AUTUMN BABIES:  

keep warm inside with heatpad or hot water bottle until 450g
keep inside in a heated room at a minimum of 60ºF or 15ºC until they reach 650g

Depending on the weather they can be put outside in a frost free shed, enclosed garden or outside enclosure to hibernate or if they stay awake once they reach 700g-800g, release can be considered in mild damp weather. Don’t let them get too fat if they do not hibernate, this can cause fatal liver failure. They must be able to roll up!

FOOD:  any type of cat or dog food or kitten/puppy food including dry complete biscuits like Royal Canin or Hills, cooked finely chopped chicken or turkey, (avoid red meat  and pork). The meat can be mixed with cereals such as crushed weetabix or porridge oats.  Always provide water to drink and NO COW’S MILK  as this can give them diarrhoea. 

FLEA CONTROL: Hedgehog fleas are no problem to the hedgehog or to you or your pets!  They are very easily killed with Pyrethrum based flea powders.  Please do not use flea sprays intended for cats and dogs, powders for cage birds (e.g. Johnson's Rid Mite) will be safe for hedgehogs. It is safer to pick the fleas off with tweezers on very small hedgehogs..

TICKS: You can remove them with a tick remover or twist them off with tweezers, making sure you get the mouthparts as well, if these are left under the hedgehog’s skin, these can go septic.

WEIGHING:
Regular weight checks are vital to ensure that the hedgehog is doing well.  Internal parasites can make them eat a lot but not gain weight.  A daily weight gain of 10g is ideal until the correct bodyweight is attained.  If the hedgehog loses weight or stays static, gets green diarrhoea or starts coughing or wheezing please ring  01534 734340 if you live in Jersey or seek advice from your vet or nearest wildlife hospital in the UK - phone the BHPS on 01584 890801 for your nearest hedgehog carer who will be able to advise you about worming.

WORMING:  Hedgehogs suffer from intestinal worms (often from their mother) which can give them diarrhoea (green or slimy and smelly) and can also take away their appetite. If they have hedgehog fluke they can become very agitated, stop eating, climb the walls of their box or cage or dig in the corners incessantly.  If this parasite is left untreated, the hedgehog will die, please seek advice urgently (See above for contact details). They also suffer from lungworm which make them cough, sniffle, wheeze and make rattling noises in their chests.  We worm most of the autumn juveniles in our care, if you live in the UK please seek advice from your local vet or hedgehog carer.

 

DROPPINGS :
should be like brown sausages (the colour will depend on the food going in at the other end!) Add more roughage (porridge oats or bran)  to firm them up.  Call for help at once if you find them green or slimy.  Bacterial gut infections can kill young hedgehogs very quickly if left untreated.  They also get Coccidiosis - a protozoan infection which gives them diarrhoea (often with blood in it), makes them very active and causes them to lose their appetite and hence weight this can also be lethal if left untreated.  Their spines may start to fall out with Coccidiosis. They can infect themselves by licking faeces from their fur or if kept with others can infect them too. 

HIBERNATION  Before and after hibernation droppings (or just one end of them) can become dark green but formed (a sign of an empty gut). 

Hibernation is an amazing process, the whole body slows down to use an absolute minimum amount of energy.  Body temperature, metabolic and heart rates fall and breathing almost stops. The hedgehog will be rolled into a very tight ball and will feel cold to the touch.

It takes several hours to achieve this state and could be dangerous to try to speed up the arousal process.  Hedgehogs do not hibernate for the whole winter, but wake up now and then, about every 7 -10 days and may or may not leave their nests.  So it is not unusual to see hedgehogs out at night during the winter.

Always provide food and water for hedgehogs hibernating in care - dry cat biscuits are easiest as they can be left for some time before they need to be changed, always make sure the water is fresh as hedgehogs are often very thirsty when they first wake up. Even if they are apparently hibernating it is a good idea to check them at least every 4 weeks - weigh them and change any soiled bedding, as they may have been up without your realising it. Then pop them back in a clean nest as quickly and with as little handling as possible so not to disturb them from hibernation.


Don’t keep a healthy hedgehog in an enclosed garden after the winter.  It is very cruel, they need to be able to wander up to 1 mile each night to meet other hedgehogs and to find enough natural food. 

Release the hedgehog after dusk on a mild evening as near to where you found him as is sensible.  Once he reaches 700-800g and is really awake you can safely release him during a mild spell in winter (when minimum night time temperatures are forecast to be +5C or more for the next 5 nights) so he can go and find his own place to hibernate.  Or you can wait till Spring for release. Good release sites will have natural water, plenty of insects to eat and cover for nesting.  The release site should be as far from a main road as possible, and away from pesticides and other farm chemicals. If you release him in your garden it will help him adjust to life in the wild if you continue to provide a dish of food and water for as long as he returns to eat it.

HAZARDS:  In Jersey all hazards for hedgehogs are manmade, they have no  natural predators in the Island.  These dangers include: cars, dogs, garden and farm chemicals, netting of all types including lobster pots left on the ground, steep sided ponds and drains, swimming pools, steep stone steps, rat traps, strimmers, mowers, garden forks and spades, bonfires, litter of all types eg four pack rings, crisp packets and other plastic bags left lying around.

HEDGEHOG FRIENDLY GARDENING:  If you would like more ideas on how to make your garden more hedgehog friendly, please go to 

Your Garden 

For further information about the Jersey Hedgehog Preservation Group and about hedgehogs in general please contact: Dru Burdon on 01534 734340 email: jerseyhedgehogs@hotmail.co.uk

For more information about Hedgehog care click here

 

 

 

                                                                                                            


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