Willows Hedgehog Rescue
Hedgehog Rescue Calls taken from
8am - 11pm Mon - Sun
Outside of these time please keep the hedgehog in a secure box lined with newspaper and an old towel or torn up strips of newspaper to snuggle under and then call us between the hours above. Put the box somewhere quiet and warm if possible and place a small bowl of water and some cat or dog food in the box.
We do operate 24 / 7 for Emergencies only
If the hedgehog has been seriously injured e.g hit by a car, attacked by an animal, is bleeding or squealing in pain then please call us out of our normal hours.
For general advice and not an emergency you can email us on:
Covering Worcestershire & surrounding areas inc:
Bromsgrove, Catshill, Wychbold, Droitwich, Redditch, Northfield, Longbridge, Rednal, Rubery, Studley, Stourport on Severn, Stourbridge Kidderminster
We also maintain a list of some rescuers around the country and we will give advice and provide a contact number for a local rescuer out of our area if we can.
See bottom of page for Experienced Rescues we recommend in the West Midlands area.
If you are outside of these areas a web search for 'your county' and 'hedgehog rescue' should bring up a number of local rescues. If non of them are very close contact one of the other rescues in the county who will most often have contact details for more rescues in the area.
Another useful resource is www.helpwildlife.co.uk which has a good list of rescues by county (by no means exhaustive).
Please do not email a rescue or contact a rescue by social media for a hedgehog in need. Emails and social media may not be checked for hours.
If a rescue doesn't answer straight away please keep trying or after a couple of calls try another rescue. Rescues are busy, sometimes calls are missed, sometimes the rescue is driving to a rescue. Please don't just call once and give up.
The BHPS also carries a list of hedgehog rescues.
(Please note that the BHPS are not a rescue organisation and are not linked with hedgehog rescues).
Make sure that the box top is secure as hedgehogs can climb quite well! Place the box in a quiet area of the house away from pets, human noises and smells.
Please don't have a go looking after yourself - take to a rescue who have the experience & facilities.
Keep the hedgehog in sight or secure before calling for help - it may crawl away while you are on the phone.
Hoglets (babies/young) - call for advice/help before disturbing the nest. Never try to look after yourself.
Orphans - Get Help Immediately.
Hedgehogs can nest in your garden under shrubs, hedges, in compost piles, under piles of leaves, under sheds, patios and even inside sheds if they can get into them. We have also found nests under tarpaulins and piles of rubbish. So please keep your garden tidy of man made rubbish, keep sheds secured and also please take care when working in the garden.
Orphans away from the nest - babies (hoglets) will only leave the nest if there is a problem. If very small hoglets are out on their own possibly not far from the nest peeping (distress/attention call) and there is no sign of mum then it is most likely that mum has been gone some time and that something has happened to her. Contact a rescue straight away. If you are aware that the hoglets have been there for some time then please do the following.
Get a large box (or zoo zone if you have a clean unused one). Line the bottom with newspaper for warmth and/or an old towel, wrap a hot water bottle (half filled with hot but not boiling water) well with a towel so gentle warmth comes through. Gently collect the hoglets into the box and place them onto the water bottle and try to surround them (make a nest) so they don't fall about with another old towel. Place the box somewhere dark and quiet in the house. Contact a rescue.
Ensure that it is gentle warmth only from the hot water bottle. It it feels hot put some cold water in to reduce the temperature, if it feels very warm wrap another towel around the bottle. Do not allow the hot water bottle to go cold. This will induce further hypothermia. The water will need changing every couple of hours. Hopefully the hoglets will be at a rescue before this but if not keep the water warm, DO NOT let the hot water bottle go cold.
Please DO NOT try to feed the hoglets or be tempted to keep looking at them or to show them to other people. Yes, they are cute. Yes, it isn't often that you get to see hoglets, but think of them as you would a human child- you wouldn't show off, pass an ill or distressed child around. Stress kills (e.g being overly handled, exposed to lots of noise and light etc). It is also easy to kill a hoglet if you are not experienced in feeding them. Often orphans are also suffering from hypothermia which means that feeding them without the necessary period of rehydration fluids and warmth will kill them. Get help straight away the sooner the hoglets are in an incubator and receiving the correct treatment the better the chance they have of surviving. Cows milk will kill hoglets so never offer and it is easy to choke, cause bloat and physically injure hoglets when trying to feed without experience.
There may seem to be a lot of Do Nots in the above but... You will have done a wonderful thing by finding them and making them safe. Please leave the rest to those experienced in hoglet care.
Constant high pitched peeps from a nest - may indicate orphaned hoglets. Hoglets peep to let mum know they want feeding, and it is also a 'where are you mum?' call. Possibly mum has gone off to find food for herself, however she will not stay away for long. If the peeping is constant there is a chance that mum may have been injured or killed. Contact a rescue straight away and they will talk you through the situation, possibly checking the nest and rescuing if necessary.
Nest Disturbance - if you accidentally disturb a nest that has mum and young in it recover the nest straight away as best as you can, leave the area quiet and contact a rescue for help. DO NOT touch or handle the hoglets. Mum may run off but return later to her young or she may abandon them. Re-cover and contact a rescue for advice. The rescue will advice on the best course of action in the situation. They may advise to watch the nest from a distance for a while for mum's return and if after a certain period of time no sign of her return to then intervene. Every situation is different so please get advice.
Hoglet litters can be up to seven hoglets in one litter. The usual litter size is around four to six. So if you find a couple of hoglets that need help don't delay getting them help but please also keep looking and listening out as there will be more siblings around.
Out during the day / Sunbathing - this is not normal behaviour. Hedgehogs are nocturnal and if out in daylight they are in trouble. If laid motionless (e.g. sunbathing) there is an issue. (The only exception can occasionally be in breeding season where a sow hedgehog may venture out in daylight to collect nesting material etc. However the in this instance the hedgehog will look very purposeful possibly collecting grass etc for nesting. If you think this may be the case contact a rescue for advice).
Caught in netting - Do not untangle the netting, cut the netting a distance around where it is tangled and remove the hedgehog with the netting. Trying to remove the netting can cause further injuries and other complications.
Asleep away from it's nest - e.g. in the middle of the garden this is not normal behaviour.
Has been hit by a car - the majority damage from impact trauma happens post the incident from swelling. Please get help straight away.
Circling - a hedgehog moving around constantly in circles can be blind or be in serious trauma from for example a head impact.
Picked up by a dog - Hedgehogs attacked by other animals including pet dogs often suffer puncture wounds which need treatment. Untreated wounds become infected very quickly. Often whole areas of soft tissue are lost. Even if you can't see any bite wounds please get help.
Fallen into a pond - often exhausted, suffering from hypothermia & may have inhaled water (inhalation pneumonia). Hypothermia and Pneumonia cannot be seen visually and can only be determined in a rescue.
Garden injuries - strimmer lacerations, puncture wounds, impact injuries, poisoning- some the potential dangers to hedgehogs. Sadly many hedgehogs find themselves injured where they should be most safe- in our gardens. Please always check before you work in the garden.
Strimmers, Spades, Forks, Chemicals, Tools left lying around all pose potential hazards for hedgehogs.
Hedgehogs die from garden injuries. Even if it was you that accidentally injured the hedgehog please get help straight away. We are here to help the animal not to tell you off, however we will offer advice on how to best protect the spiky residents that are in your garden.
Covered in a large number of tics - Tics can be present in long grass and can be transferred by other wildlife and domestic pets. large numbers of a hedgehog cause issues & can also point to other issues.
Large areas of spines missing - can indicate strimmer injury or external parasites including mange/ringworm. Handle the hedgehog with gloves as can be zoonotic (passed to between species).
A leg appears damaged - limping, dragging a leg.
Dragging it's hind legs - possible spinal injury. The spines may also show a defined line where half are raised and half cannot be raised.
Wobbling - this indicates there is a serious issue and that the hedgehog is close to total collapse.
Looking very thin and disorientated - often indicates dehydration due to illness and/or injuries.
Very hyperactive - running backwards & forwards (often with feet bleeding).
(Images top-bottom: Tangled in netting, Garden Strimmer injury, Tics, Fly strike).
Winter Weight - Hedgehogs once into winter need to be 600-650grams to have a good chance of surviving hibernation. Also due to the large amount of weight loss during hibernation hedgehogs under this weight if they do survive hibernation awake in very poor condition and get into trouble very quickly afterwards. If under this weight please secure and contact a rescue.
Hedgehog can have very late litters especially in milder years and these 'autumn juvenile' often do not have time to gain enough weight to be able to reach hibernation weight.
WHAT TO DO NEXT
Hedgehogs should be handled with gloves, their spines can hurt and they may bite (although this is very rare).
Once you have established that a hedgehog is in need of assistance, pick it up and put it into a high sided cardboard box with newspaper and an old towel. You could also add a hot water bottle (not boiling) wrapped in a towel, (or any plastic bottle filled with warm water - make sure it cannot leak)*, to the box; as direct warmth will help an animal that is suffering from shock.
Then either contact your nearest Hedgehog Rescue Service or if you can't contact anyone please take the hedgehog to a vet for medical assistance.
Prompt action is helping a hedgehog in trouble does make the difference between life and death. Please don't just watch a hog in trouble, it is better to call someone and find out that it is OK, than wait and find out it is too late.
*If the hedgehog has clusters of white specs on it don't use a hot water bottle as this is a condition called Fly-Strike which is fly eggs and the warmth can cause them to hatch quicker into maggots causing more issues for the hog.
Other Midlands Hedgehog Rescue Centres
Please note that the rescues listed below are ones we speak to and that we consider to be experienced hedgehog/wildlife rescues working to high standards for the benefit of our native wildlife.
(WH Wildlife Hospital)
(HHR Hedgehog Rescue)
Please note that we work very closely with Malvern Hedgehog Rescue and Hogs Rest Hedgehog Rescue and as here at Willows they are both RSPCA inspected units.
Viv, South Worcestershire 07780 834411 (HHR)
Covering South Worcestershire
Lorna, Allesley, Coventry 07866 376817 (HHR)
Covering Coventry & surrounding areas including Solihull
Charlie, Jayne, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire (HHR)
Covering North Worcestershire, Areas of South Birmingham to South of Solihull
If you can't contact either of the above rescues please contact us and vica versa
Joan, Walsall, West Midlands 07837 40953 (HHR)
Snuffles Hedgehog Rescue Four Oaks
Claire, Four Oaks, Birmingham 07889 770958 (HHR)
Nr Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire 01386 882288 (WH)
Stacey & Mick 07855 466169 / 07816 997492 (WLR)
Hedgehog & Bird Rescue Stafford