How You Can Help Hedgehogs

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:34 pm

When it rustles in the bushes, sometimes a hedgehog is the reason. He is particularly active in the fall. Because he has to eat a lot before hibernation begins.

Perhaps you have already been able to observe a hedgehog? If so, then probably at dusk. Because the animals are out and about at night in search of food. They eat mainly insects, snails, earthworms or spiders. Their territory is large: in their search for food, the animals can cover several kilometers.

How You Can Help Hedgehogs

In autumn, the animals can be spotted particularly often, because then they are especially active. During this time, they have to build up a thick layer of fat before they hibernate. Because then they don’t eat anything until they wake up again in March or April.

It is normal for hedgehogs to be out until the end of November. Only when the temperatures at night and during the day are around zero degrees does it become high time for hibernation. But even during the winter time hedgehogs come out from time to time. Especially when it is particularly warm for a few days, they wake up.

Hedgehogs are best off in nature

It is often said that young hedgehogs should be helped to get through the winter. But that doesn’t mean you should bring them indoors! For the hedgehog, as for all wild animals, the rule is that you should not take them out of their habitat.

Basically hedgehogs are best outside in their territory. Even in uncomfortable weather in autumn and winter, when most people prefer to stay dry and warm.

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The best help: a hedgehog-friendly garden

The best help for hedgehogs is to provide them with a good habitat. Since hedgehogs often live in gardens, you can do a lot for them there. Hedgehogs find food and shelter best in natural gardens with lots of variety, for example with hedges, shrubs and meadows.

It is hedgehog-friendly if the garden is not too “tidy”. This means that there should not only be short mowed lawn, and not every fallen leaf should be swept up. Chemical pesticides should also be avoided.

It is particularly important to provide the hedgehog with hiding places. They can find hiding places, for example, in dense bushes, in dry cavities under wood piles or under tree roots. Piles of brushwood and leaves in quiet corners of the garden are also suitable. In such dry and frost-proof places, the animals also spend their winter hibernation.

How You Can Help Hedgehogs

It also helps the hedgehog if he can roam as freely and safely as possible. There should be passages between different gardens. And garden owners can defuse dangerous places. For example, with a lid on the rain barrel or a grid on the basement manhole. Garden ponds should have a shallow spot where animals that have fallen in can climb out if necessary.

Only help in exceptional cases!
Hedgehogs only need human help if they are conspicuously malnourished just before the onset of winter, or if they are running around in permafrost and snow.

If you discover a hedgehog in need of help, you should not collect it directly and take it with you.

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As a little support before or after hibernation, you can offer the animal food at first. It is best to provide a small bowl in the evening. Dry dog food is suitable. Perishable canned food or leftovers are not suitable. Hedgehogs also do not tolerate milk.

Who helps sick hedgehogs?

Only if you find an obviously sick or injured hedgehog, pick it up carefully. Put on thick gloves first. Then contact a competent vet or a state-approved hedgehog rescue centre near you.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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