How to help the prickly garden dwellers

If you have discovered a sick or orphaned hedgehog in the garden, it’s time to go to the vet. Because in a hedgehog emergency, simple animal love and care are not enough. Read here what the first steps are and how you can help.

How can a sick hedgehog be nursed back to health?  – Shutterstock / Livia Gaffield

How can a sick hedgehog be nursed back to health? – Shutterstock / Livia Gaffield

Normally, hedgehogs don’t need help. If they pad across your lawn at night or hibernate under a leafy hedge, there is no need to worry. However, if they keep curling up or stumbling, it may be an emergency that you can help with.

Seek help in a hedgehog emergency

Many people are fans of the button-eyed spiny animals. Therefore, many animal lovers mean well and bring them into their homes to help them there. However, a hedgehog emergency should definitely be treated professionally – by a veterinarian or a nearby hedgehog sanctuary. You can find a list of addresses of German regional hedgehog protection organizations on the Internet, for example on the “Pro Igel” website.

First aid for hedgehogs

In the event of an emergency, write down the date, time, location and weight of the animal found so that the veterinarian can be given the most accurate information possible. Check if the spiny animal is hypothermic. To do this, place your hand on his belly side. If the belly is colder than your hand, fill a hot water bottle with lukewarm water and wrap it around the animal in need with a towel.

In a box, he can warm up while you take him to the vet. Some liquid in the form of lukewarm water or camomile tea also strengthens the little rascal. Cow’s milk is unsuitable for the prickly animals, as they do not tolerate the milk sugar (lactose) it contains well and can get digestive problems from it.

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Caring for a hedgehog

If you have spoken to a veterinarian and are allowed to nurse the hedgehog in your own four walls, set up suitable accommodation. Provide him with a shelter at room temperature and make sure he gets some exercise. When feeding, keep in mind that the spiny animals are meat eaters. Canned cat or dog food or minced meat fried in oil are ideal – hedgehogs accept this benevolently. But even a scrambled egg brings the sweet beady eyes back to strength.

You might also be interested in these topics from the Animal category:

Baby Squirrel Clinging: Emergency Rescue!

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Here’s how you can help wildlife in winter

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