Hedgehog found on the street: how you can help

Not every hedgehog on the street needs urgent help. Before you collect the animals and even take them home with you, you should make sure that the cute spiny animal is really a hedgehog in need. However, if the hedgehog is injured or in danger from traffic, you can find out here how you can help.

A hedgehog on the street can easily be run over - Shutterstock / Barsan ATTILA

A hedgehog on the street can easily be run over – Shutterstock / Barsan ATTILA

Nowadays, hedgehogs no longer live mainly in the forest or in the field, but in the human settlement area. This means that the beneficial insectivores keep getting lost on roads or otherwise traveled paths. There they run the risk of being run over by cars or other vehicles if they cannot escape quickly enough. If you find a hedgehog on the street, it is important that you behave properly.

Hedgehog found: what to do?

If you spot a hedgehog on the side of the road that looks healthy and has no visible injuries, you should definitely not collect the porcupine and take it home with you. Hedgehogs are site-loyal and attached to their territory. If you “transplant” them, they can no longer find their way around and may no longer be able to hunt for food, so they starve to death.

What you can do for the hedgehog on the street: Determine in which direction the animal wants to run. If the hedgehog wants to cross the street, pick it up carefully, carry it across the road in the direction you are walking and set it down a few meters from the roadside – ideally in a bush so that it is protected from predators. In the safe green, away from the dangers of road traffic, the little insect eater finds its own way and no longer needs your help.

When does the hedgehog have to go to the vet

While a healthy hedgehog only needs a small carrying aid across the street and can then get by on its own, sick and injured hedgehogs need your help. You can recognize a sick hedgehog by the fact that he is out and about during the day instead of at night, is apathetic and hardly curls up. Sick hedgehogs are also often skinny, with prominent hip bones and a dent behind the head. The eyes are sunken and narrowed to slits instead of protruding in a hemispherical shape. Flies often settle on sick hedgehogs.

If you find a hedgehog in this condition, you should collect it and take it to the vet or a hedgehog sanctuary as soon as possible. Orphaned hedgehog cubs that are still so small that their eyes and ears are closed, as well as hedgehogs in winter who are out and about in ice and snow, must be taken to the vet immediately.

Do not take home healthy hedgehogs

If you have found a healthy hedgehog on the street and are thinking about taking the cute spine bearer into your garden at home, you should quickly refrain from this idea. In Germany it is forbidden by law to take protected animal species – such as the hedgehog – from nature. However, there is an exception if the animal is ill or injured and needs to be nursed back to health.

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