Sunday, 5 October 2008

Everything you need to know about looking after an orphaned hedgehog

Yesterday I made a call to the British Hedgehog preservation society to ask some questions. Here are some basic FAQs about looking after orphaned hoglets!

What should I be feeing my hoglet?

High protein foods such as

Pedigree puppy food
Kitten food - the pate type in all instances, not the food in jelly or gravy. And NOT fish.
scrambled eggs, but with no dairy such as milk or butter
fresh, cooked scraps of meat
meal worms - live ones not the dried ones sold for feeding the birds - ewwwww

Should a baby hedgehog be having milk? (I'd been worried that Hetty was away from her Mum too soon and would still be taking milk from her)

Until hoglets are about 12-13oz they should be given goats milk. So I'm going to get some raw, unpasteurised goats milk from our local organic farm shop this week.

She keeps going under the fire, is she too cold?

She is certainly showing signs of being too cold. Apparently I need to give her a hot water bottle or an old tetrapak filled with hot water in her bed.

What if a hoglet gets too cold?

If a baby hedgehog gets too cold their internal organs shut down. So even if she is eating plenty but STILL too cold she won't be able to properly digest her food, which could kill her.

Now fortunately I have an old heat pad, so dh wired a plug on it and now Hetty has underfloor heating in her new abode.

Will a hoglet wee or poo in their own nests?

A female is cleaner and tidier than a male and is less likely to do this! A male is more messy and might plop on his own pillow.

No comment LOL!

Can a hedgehog pass on any diseases to humans? I asked this because we have a seven year old daughter who adores Hetty already.

Yes! A hedgehog can pass on diseases just like a rat could.
They can carry ringworm, although this is usually noticeable in the hoglet with lots of dropped spines and dry flaky skin.
Hedgehogs can carry mites, salmonella and foot and mouth.

Do hedgehogs lose their prickles (spines)?

Yes, they lose their spines just like we lose our hair every day. six to seven spines per day is average. If you notice more dropped prickles than that then the hedgehog may be ill.

Do hedgehogs bite?

It's very rare for a hedgehog to bite. And if they do it's never been reported that they break the skin as their jaws are not strong enough. All you will get is a bit of a shock and the indents of the teeth on your skin.

So there we are - a basic guide to looking after an orphaned hedgehog. I was asked to look out for more hoglets as the woman senses the most likely scenario is that something has happened to Mum and there may be more baby hedgehogs around - each litter usually consists of four or five babies.

1 comment:

Paul said...

This is a very well written article. The funny thing is that it seems that looking after an abandoned wild hoglet is not much different from looking after a pet one. You can find more information here:

There's also an article about the cause and aftermath of a ringworm infection