Where will you find hedgehogs?
Hedgehogs are one of Scotland’s best-loved wild mammals. Typically found in gardens, parks and greenspaces across the country, hedgehogs thrive in areas with lots of bushes and hedges (the clue is in the name!). You should only see a hedgehog at night as they are nocturnal.
Famed for their brown, prickly exterior, hedgehogs are a staple of Scottish wildlife but sadly it is not as easy to see them as previously. Population size has declined dramatically across the UK over the past two decades, though that drop does not appear to be as severe in Scotland as it is in the rest of the UK. The loss of hedges and woodland space has had a negative impact on hedgehog population numbers.
A hedgehog diet is a delicacy of creepy-crawlies. They enjoy eating all sorts of bugs and their ideal dinner plate is a flower-bed or garden lawn packed with insects. Hedgehogs will also tuck in to any fruit or carrion they come across.
Hedgehogs can also eat cat and dog food and this is often what we use to help the ones we treat at our National Wildlife Rescue Centre regain strength and put on weight. They should never be fed anything that is fish-based.
Despite population decline, we are helping more and more hedgehogs every year. In 2018, we cared for over 1,300.
If you spot a hedgehog during daylight hours, chances are it is unwell or struggling for food and energy. You should call our animal helpline on 03000 999 999 immediately and we’ll take it to our National Wildlife Rescue Centre to be assessed and, if possible, rehabilitated.
Hedgehogs hibernate over winter, so if you see one out and about during the colder months it also needs assistance. Get in touch and a Scottish SPCA animal rescue officer will collect it.
If possible, try to safely contain the hedgehog when you contact us to ensure we can safely remove it and give it the care it desperately needs. Though its spikes may seem intimidating, you can safely pick one up using gardening gloves or a thick towel.
If you want to provide some nutrition whilst you wait for our animal rescue officer to arrive, put it in a secure box with some cat/dog food and fresh water.
What happens after a hedgehog rescue?
After an initial assessment, our wildlife care team gets to work on helping the hedgehog put on weight and regain strength. If a hedgehog hasn’t been able to hibernate successfully, it’s usually because it does not have the necessary fat stored or it was birthed in a late litter. They would not survive without our help over winter.
Once they have reached a suitable weight of over 600g and the weather has warmed up to being consistently over four degrees centigrade at night, we’ll identify a suitable site to release it back in to the wild and do so.