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Be a hedgehog helper


At this time of year, our prickly friends are busy preparing for winter. Hedgehogs spend the autumn fattening up and finding a cosy spot to hibernate throughout the colder months. Here's how you can be a hedgehog helper:

1. Help hedgehogs reach a healthy hibernation weight

Hedgehogs must reach a healthy weight to be able to survive hibernation so they eat as much as they can during autumn to build up good fat reserves for winter.

In the wild, they enjoy a delicacy of creepy-crawlies but if you have hedgehog visitors in your garden, you can help them bulk up by leaving out dry cat biscuits or wet dog or cat food. They should never be fed mealworms or anything that is fish-based.

2. Quench our quilled friends’ thirst

Preparing for hibernation is thirsty work! Many of the hedgehogs who arrive in our care come in suffering from dehydration so we recommend leaving out a shallow dish of fresh water.

3. Mind the gap

Hedgehogs need to be able to roam freely to get the food they need and can travel around a mile each night!

Our wildlife hospital recently cared for a hedgehog who had to be rescued after getting stuck in a fence. Despite our best efforts, sadly the hedgehog passed away a few days later.

Creating a hole at the bottom of your garden fence can help our prickly friends pass through easily on their night time adventures.

Hedgehog stuck in fence

4. Create a hibernation haven

Hedgehogs will seek out a safe, quiet spot to nestle down for the winter. They are resourceful wee creatures and will make use of whatever materials they can find to build a cosy nest called a hibernaculum.

Things like twigs, dead leaves, feathers and hay make fantastic building supplies for hedgehogs so don’t be too hasty when clearing away natural materials. Good news if you’re not a fan of gardening!

Remember to be careful when moving piles of logs, leaves or compost as hedgehogs love to make shelters out of these.

5. Clear away hedgehog hazards

If you’re lucky enough to have hedgehog visitors, it’s important to clear away anything hedgehogs could get trapped or tangled in.

We recently rescued a hedgehog that was had become entangled in a football net. Fortunately, he was freed and went merrily on his way but many are not so lucky.

Remember to tidy away things like tennis nets or fishing materials and keep your garden litter free.

Hedgehog tangled in football net

Our National Wildlife Rescue Centre is currently caring for over 100 hedgehogs and are now starting to see this year’s second brood of youngsters.

The wildlife hospital is in desperate need of non-fish based, wet cat food to feed the hedgehogs and hoglets.

Hedgehogs usually come in to our care at this time of year because they are underweight and our smallest hedgehog weighs just 116 grams!

Your donations will help bulk up the hedgehogs until they’re big enough to be able to survive hibernation in the wild.

Food items can be donated via the centre’s Amazon wish list here: or sent from another online retailer that can deliver. Items can also be handed in daily between 1pm and 4pm to the reception at the Scottish SPCA National Wildlife Rescue Centre, Fishcross, Clackmannanshire, FK10 3AN.




If anyone is concerned about an animal, please do not hesitate to contact our confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.

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