Subject: Hedgehog FAQ [7/7] - Wild Hedgehogs

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Answers to Frequently Asked Questions and general information about pet (African Pigmy) hedgehogs. Should be helpful to both prospective and current hedgehog owners.
Part VII - wild hedgehogs

Current Revision

Last-modified: 17 April 2016

Compiled and edited by Brian MacNamara (

Additions, corrections, and suggestions for this file are welcomed.

This document is copyright 2016 by Brian MacNamara. See section [0.6] for authorship information and redistribution rights. In short, you can give it away, but you can't charge for it.

The basic Hedgehog FAQ has seven parts, all of which should be available from wherever you obtained this one. A complete table of contents for all seven parts is given below.

Please note: While my knowledge of hedgehogs has grown (far beyond my wildest expectations when I began the FAQ), my knowledge is still quite limited, especially in areas of health care. I did not write, or verify, all the information in this FAQ. I have done my best to include only accurate and useful information, but I cannot guarantee the correctness of what is contained in this FAQ, regardless of the source, or even that it will not be harmful to you or your hedgehog in some way. For advice from an expert, I recommend you consult the books listed in part 2 [2.1], or, especially in the case of a suspected medical problem, a veterinarian who is familiar with hedgehogs.


11. *** Finding Information ***

12. *** Care and Helping ***

11. *** Finding Information ***

Subject: <11.1> Intro to wild hedgehogs

This FAQ originally started out (and is still largely oriented at) pet hedgehogs. So why the emphasis on their wild cousins? Hedgehogs enjoy a very unique niche in that they seem to inspire people to like them (or in many cases, fall head over heels in love with them) and want to help them out, or at least want to enjoy the company of hedgehogs in and around them.

Our views of hedgehogs in the wild transcend what we normally feel for most `wild' animals that we encounter. How many animals do we go to such great lengths to encourage to come into our gardens and backyards for a visit? How many wild animals get the same level of helping hand, with food being put out specifically for them? And how many animals have hospitals named just for them? (I realize these kind hospitals do not limit themselves to treating just hedgehogs).

How many of us can resist the cute little face of hedgehog -- something that just reaches out to our hearts for help. One only has to look at the number and variety of organizations that are trying to help out hedgehogs in need to see how great the interest is. This makes it all the more amazing that hedgehogs were hunted and persecuted only a few decades ago, as being pests.

Why hedgehogs inspire so much human compassion is often very hard to pin down. The fact that they do, and that this desire to help seems to be so very widespread, is nothing short of impressive. Even so, our prickly little friends face what is still often a losing battle, in the face of human encroachment, and the dangers it often brings with it.

Fortunately, everyone who lives where wild hedgehogs can be found, can take part in helping out our little friends. This can vary from simply making some of the everyday throwaway items a bit safer before being tossed out, to adapting a garden area to be attractive to hedgehogs, or even helping out with one of the hedgehog help/rescue organizations. No special skills are needed to help out -- just a love of hedgehogs.

Of course, there are those who simply collect hedgehog memorabilia (hedgehogabilia) as their way of showing their interest in hedgehogs. This is how I came by my love (well, addiction is probably more accurate) for hedgehogs, and usually expands to well beyond the simple act of collecting.

This part of the FAQ is intended to cover as much as I can add on where to get involved and how to help out with wild hedgehogs. The number of people I've heard from who are trying to help out these little friends in need is truly amazing and encouraging. I hope that the tips and suggestions here, will help others who find themselves in the position of helping a hedgehog.

Subject: <11.2> What hedgehog books are there?

Hedgehog popularity throughout much of Europe has exploded, and continues to grow. Even so, the number of good books is still relatively limited, and the extent of research is also much less than one might expect. The good news is that there are excellent books out there, and that more do keep appearing.

One of the best books I've found, for a true scientific view of all types of hedgehogs is:

In published form, this book is probably the best source of true, scientific information on all types of hedgehogs. Beyond this you probably need to read scientific papers (30 pages of references to which are at the back of this book, which gives you some idea as to Dr. Reeve's efforts at research). While this book does focus primarily on hedgehogs in the wild, it does provide some very useful insights into what makes our little friends tick. I find myself turning more and more to this book, all the time -- especially when someone asks me a detailed question. Unlike many scientific books, this one shows the author had a real interest and excitement in his chosen topic of research, rather than limiting himself to dry phrasing, an entertaining sense of humour and wit shows through.

The book can be hard to come by in North America (the publisher does not import it to N.A.), but it is available through the Exclusively Hedgehogs catalog [2.8], and the Spike and Friends Catalog [2.8]. In Europe, your local bookseller can likely order it for you from the information, above.

For those looking for an excellent all round book on caring for hedgehogs, and one with an absolute wealth of medical information, including homeopathic treatments, most of which can apply to both European and African Pigmy hedgehogs, the following book is available:

66 Charlotte St. London W1P 1LR

Produced by the folks at the Welsh Hedgehog Hospital (WHH) [11.4], this book is now available in a softcover form, directly from them for a reasonable fee (see [11.4] for contact information), and provides an excellent source for anyone wanting to give hedgehogs a helping hand.

Katherine Long has passed along word of another book that is full of interesting hedgehog information, although it can be somewhat hard to get in North America. Here is the bibliographic info:

[The price, above, was valid as of 1997 -- Ed.]

This book concentrates on European hedgehogs, but certainly contains relevant information on hedgehogs in general.

As a point of interest, Les Stocker is the founder of St. Tiggywinkle's Hospital [11.4].

Another book, this time suggested by Bill Corner, is:

One more for good measure. This one is a manual, likely intended for use primarily by veterinarians, and likely refers primarily to European hedgehogs, and is therefore almost certainly very technical in nature.

Peter Captijn, has sent along the following (seemingly endless) list of books on hedgehogs: [Note: prices were valid as of approx. 1996 -- Ed.]

Finally, while the following doesn't deal directly with live hedgehogs, it may well be of interest to us hedgehog addicts (thanks again Katherine for this):

[The price, above, was valid as of 1997 -- Ed.]

Subject: <11.3> Is there information available on-line?

The Usenet newsgroups rec.pets,, and alt.pets.hedgehogs all carry discussions of wild, as well as pet hedgehogs (in spite of some of the names).

In addition to the newsgroups, the main hedgehog mailing list has a number of European members and sports frequent discussions of European hedgehogs and helping them out.

Both an individual message version and a digest version of the list are available.

You can join the regular (individual message version of the) hedgehog mailing list, by sending email to the address:

with the words ``subscribe hedgehog-mail <your email address>'' (without the double quotes, and with your own, full, email address in place of the <your email address>) in the body of the message (not the subject line, though putting it there too will be harmless).

You can join the digest version of the hedgehog mailing list, by sending email to the address:

with the words ``set digest hedgehog-mail <your email address>'' (without the double quotes, and with your own, full, email address in place of the <your email address>) in the body of the message (not the subject line, though putting it there too will be harmless).

Sending a message to the list is done by sending mail to the following address after you are subscribed:

For more information about the list and commands, you can send a message to: with the word ``help'' without the double quotes, in the body of the message.

In the event that you ever want to unsubscribe from either list, simply send a message to the ``majordomo'' address (as if you were subscribing) but use the words ``unsubscribe hedgehog-mail <your email address>'' (exactly like subscribing to the regular list but using the word ``unsubscribe'') in the text. This will unsubscribe you from whichever version of the list you were subscribed to.

My own European hedgehog webpage can also act as a starting point for finding more hedgehog information:

The Hedgehog Helpline is now online, and has one of the best websites I've seen for information on all aspects of European hedgehogs.

You can also reach them via email at: -- my thanks to Kay at the Hedgehog Helpline for letting me know about their web site, and for other information.

Another contender for the best online resource, for people interested in wild hedgehogs is the Welsh Hedgehog Hospital (WHH):

These are the folks behind the book _The_Natural_Hedgehog_ and have done an exceptional job of putting great information on all aspects of helping hedgehogs on their web site.

Another excellent resource is the Cleveland Hedgehog Preservation Society (CHPS) [11.4] web site at:

Thanks to Donald Martin for the update, and my apolgies for misplacing the message along the way.

This site contains an excellent overview of what to do if you encounter a hedgehog needing assistance, among other very useful information.

Subject: <11.4> Wild Hedgehog Organizations

There are numerous European hedgehog organizations that strive to help out hedgehogs, usually thanks only to volunteer help and donations.

One of the first to come into being was the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS), run by Major Adrian Cole, information about it was sent to me courtesy of Bill Corner, Vanessa Purvis, and Seabury Salmon:

Tom Weston sent around the following information about another organization dedicated to rescuing and helping hedgehogs:

Barry Turner (who is the Newsletter Editor/WildAid) contacted me recently with info on WildAid (formerly the SWRRC):

WildAid is a U.K. registered charitable organization which looks after sick, injured, and otherwise endangered wildlife, primarily throughout the British Isles, as well as now helping other Sanctuaries with advice, practical assistance and sometimes financial help.

The address for WildAid is:

You can also contact them (Barry Turner) via email at:

Another group in the U.K. that looks after hedgehogs is the Cleveland Hedgehog Preservation Society (CHPS):

Donald also passed along word that the CHPS [11.3] have a web site which contains an excellent overview of what to do if you encounter a hedgehog needing assistance, at:

I have also found information on yet another hedgehog organization in the U.K., courtesy of a post on the [11.3] newsgroup by Liz Roberts-Morgan:

Almost last, and certainly far from least (how can anything hedgehog related be least?) is ``St. Tiggywinkle's'' Hospital. The following information on it was sent along by Willard B. ``Skip'' Nelson, DVM, with the phone number coming from LeAnne and Adrian:

Similar in nature to ``St. Tiggywinkle's'' is the Welsh Hedgehog Hospital [11.2], [11.3].

The WWH are also the people behind the excellent book _The_Natural_Hedgehog_ which includes many accounts of their successes, and sometimes failures in trying to save and return sick and injured hedgehogs to their homes. Like all such organizations, they are always looking for volunteers and for donations (or adoptions, as they offer them), but they also do provide help to those trying to help a hedgehog in need.

There is also a newsletter called the ``Hedgehog News'' published by the Herts Hedgehog Helpline group in the U.K. Here is some info on them from John Horton:

As pointed out, you can contact John at the Herts Hedgehog Helpline at:

Email: Telephone: 01462-451618

Crossing over to the mainland of Europe, there is Norway's Hedgehog Fan Club, known as ``Hedgehog Friends.'' I received the following information from its president Sigrun Seetrevik:

Cost is 50 kr. (~ $7-$8 CDN, ~ $4-$5 USD) which includes their magazine (most of the articles are in the Norwegian language, but Sigrun indicated that they were open to articles in English as well). You can also try contacting him by email at:

The club is quite informal in nature, and members often get together socially to have a good time and talk hedgehog, which belies the origins of the club:

For hedgehog lovers in Sweden, I heard from Siw and Anders, who do take in injured and sick hedgehogs, and can help with advice. They don't have a large organization, so please don't inundate them with questions or hedgehogs that you can help look after yourself, but they can certainly help out, especially if you don't know what to do and don't have anywhere to keep convalescent hedgehogs. You can contact them at:

In Belgium, the organization Wild Peace, based in Brussels, can provide assistance in looking after orphaned animals such as hedgehogs. My thanks to Janet Willacy for letting me know about them:

Subject: <11.5> Miscellaneous Hedgehog stuff and sources

This section covers hedgehog related topics and items that don't fit into the previous sections. Sources of supplies for looking after wild hedgehogs, or other items which are not `information' or `organizations' are listed, here. To date, this is an area that I have not had the opportunity to add much to, as yet.

I'll try to fill in the details here over the coming months and years. For now, much of what goes here, is still scattered throughout other sections, so take a look around, and you'll find some sources and resources.

One source that I have recently received information on is CJ WildBird Foods Ltd., who, in addition to the obvious, also produce wild hedgehog food and nest boxes. You can contact them at:

My thanks to Stefan Hossack of CJ WildBird Foods for passing along the information.

One caveat I do have to make, however; based on the photos of their hedgehog food, it appears to contain sunflower seeds and as such it probably is not suitable for smaller (e.g. African Pigmy) hedgehogs, which are quite prone to choking on such items, though is probably fine with larger, European hedgehogs. You can always just remove the pieces, or crush them if you have any concerns.

12. *** Care and Helping ***

Subject: <12.1> The hedgehog calendar

No, this is not a place to get a calendar of hedgehogs! Most hedgehogs can't read one, anyway! It's the hedgehog's view of the year, or rather seasons. I should probably note that this section is written from the perspective of people, and well, hedgehogs, living in the northern hemisphere. For people in places such as New Zealand, remember to read it upside down, um, er, with the summer/winter reversed as to what the months show here. It also refers primarily to European hedgehogs -- climates and calendars for wild African and other species will differ considerably.

December - March (approximately): This is the time of hibernation. Obviously, the exact timings will depend very much on climate, and to some extent, what food supplies were like just before hibernation.

March - April: Hedgehogs arise from hibernation and start to appear. Most will be very hungry, and a helping-hand dish of cat or dog food at this time will be most welcome to get the new year off to a good start.

April - May: Mating season (for summer hoglets), or as some people call it, the noisy season. Great snufflefests outside your windows can occur as hedgehogs demonstrate their amorous tendencies.

June - July: It's hoglet season. Depending on when mating took place, the little ones will appear roughly 35 days (32-40 days) later. These are the summer hoglets, and will have the best chances of survival.

July - August: The summer hoglets start leaving home at around 8 weeks of age. Again the timing varies, depending on when they were born, how much food there is and a lot of other factors.

This is also the time of the second mating season. This season is much less defined than the earlier one, and depends more on when mothers are free of their babies, and might be receptive again. This carries on through September.

September - October: The autumn hoglets are born, and many hedgehogs start to stock up on their winter fat. Obviously, hoglets born at this time have far less opportunity to grow before the winter comes.

October - November: It's serious pack-on-the-fat-time for hedgehogs. Prickly-appetites-on-paws will eat as much as they can at this time of year. The autumn hoglets start to head out on their own in their desperate attempt to build up enough fat and body weight to survive the coming winter. Hedgehogs weighing less than 500-600 grams will have relatively little chance of surviving anything but a mild winter.

December: It's time to find a den and settle in for hibernation. This is triggered partly because of cold weather, and also (to a somewhat lesser extent) because of reduced hours of daylight, but it is also because with the coming of colder temperatures, most of the food supply disappears. Fat, happy hedgehogs will now snuggle in until Spring.

Remember, the times shown in this calendar are very approximate. They will all vary considerably with climate, food supply, and many other factors. In years with late, or mild winters, hedgehogs can remain active into January, which gives autumn babies a much better chance. In years with early winters, many hedgehogs may be caught unprepared, and may sometimes be seen up and around in the snow, trying to find a few last tidbits of food, or a better shelter for the winter.

And, of course, New Zealand hedgehogs have it quite a bit differently, with summer and winter reversed.

Subject: <12.2> Caring for visiting hedgehogs

Many people throughout the world, especially in Europe, have the pleasure of having native hedgehogs visit their backyards and gardens. In many places an almost overpowering urge exists to try and help these little visitors -- after all, in many cases, they are doing their best to rid your garden of undesirable pests, besides they are irresistibly cute.

A quick point here -- this section is on naturally wild hedgehogs, and that releasing pet hedgehogs into an environment, even one they could survive in, in order to create a wild population, or just to dispose of a pet you no longer want, is both cruel and dangerous, as well as illegal. In other words, simply don't do it.

You should probably be aware that there is an interesting side effect to having visiting hedgehogs in your garden, as Peter Captijn puts it:

When it comes to providing food for visiting hedgehogs, the age old standard of a saucer of milk is not a good idea, and can upset a hedgehog's stomach, although I have no doubt that the hedgehogs dearly love it. In general, the same sorts of rules that apply to pet hedgehogs
[6.2], also apply for people wanting to feed wild hedgehogs. The biggest difference probably being the quantity -- European hedgehogs are MUCH larger than the African Pigmy variety, and have larger appetites corresponding to their size (Something can have a bigger appetite than Quiver? I'd have to see that to believe it!). This is especially so towards the late autumn when hedgehogs are preparing for hibernation, or with nursing mothers.

If you are providing just some extra food for visiting hedgehogs, cat or dog food makes a much better option than bread and milk. It will also serve to attract hedgehogs much more readily. It also makes a good supplement to the diet of a hedgehog naturally foraging to put on weight for hibernation.

For longer term care, such as a convalescing hedgehog, straight dog/cat food is not the ideal food either, unless as Peter Captijn put it ``you find hedgeballs thriving'':

Again from Peter is the following on feeding:

If you can manage to tolerate handling live food enough to feed it, most hedgehogs love to hunt a bit as suggested by Anja van der Werf:

With that comes a gentle reminder that hedgehogs which are in captivity (such as convalescing from injury or illness), do need some entertainment -- a barren cage means a boring life for an animal that usually spends its nights snuffling over a surprising expanse of territory. Do your friends a favour, and let them play.

If you are looking after a convalescent hedgehog(s), and the weather is turning cold, don't forget to keep your little patient warm. Going into hibernation when not fully healed, or without adequate winter fat reserves is likely going to be a one-way trip. See section [12.8] for more information on hibernation.

Subject: <12.3> Feeding and caring for orphan baby hedgehogs

With the number of hedgehogs killed on roads, and from other reasons, it's not surprising that orphaned babies do occur.

If you come across baby hedgehogs wandering about on their own, during the middle of the day, there is a good chance that they are orphans. That said, don't simply collect them and take them home to care for them. Unless they are obviously in dire straits, it's best to give them a day or possibly two to see if mom does return. If she hasn't within that time, you should probably consider taking action. Of course, if they look to be in serious need of help, then don't wait -- if they've already been on their own for a while, they might not have a couple of days left in them.

What you feed them depends on their age, and this will be largely a judgement call. If they are old enough it might be possible to feed them canned cat or dog food (or the recipe above [12.2]). If they are too young, take a look at the suggestions for nursing replacements outlined below. Basically, these are the same formulas as used with baby African hedgehogs and will work well for baby European hedgehogs also -- only the quantities will likely be quite a bit greater (the 'hog' part of the name isn't there for no reason...).

Generally, the rule about avoiding or limiting cows' milk for adult hedgehogs also applies to babies, only even more so. Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant, and cows' milk will likely cause diarrhea, resulting in dehydration and further problems.

Robyn Gorton, who was studying hedgehogs in New Zealand, passed along the following information on caring for babies.

I've also heard of using goats' milk, similar to what Robyn suggested above, though I trust her research as far sheeps' milk being closer to hedgehog milk. I do need to caution, however, about the use of raw eggs, as they can cause problems of their own [6.2] -- this, however, may be one situation where bending those rules is worthwhile.

What do you do if you don't have a friendly goat or sheep, or can't easily find sheeps' or goats' milk? Many pet stores and pet supply stores carry KMR (Kitten Milk Replacement). It's usually in powdered form, which makes it handy for the small quantities you will need.

I've also heard of Esbilac (human baby formula) being used successfully, to offer yet another option. Anja van der Werf pointed out to me that when you are trying to use human formula, make sure it is soya-based rather than based on cows' milk.

One thing to watch out for in feeding baby hedgehogs, is that after each feeding you must stimulate them to defecate and urinate, otherwise their bladder and bowel will swell up and can even burst. To do this, simply stroke along their tummy towards the anus, which simulates a mother licking and grooming her babies. You can also do this with a warm damp tissue or cloth. The idea isn't to squeeze anything out, just to stimulate the baby to do it's business.

Remember that hand raising baby hedgehogs is very difficult, and if you try and meet with tragedy, remember that you gave them much more of a chance than they would have had without you. Whatever happens, don't give up and decide that hedgehogs are bad, or that it's not worth helping hoglets -- it's just hedgehog nature, and next time may well be nothing short of magical.

Another thing you can do for orphaned hedgehogs, is to contact one of the organizations that provide sanctuaries or assistance (such as St. Tiggywinkle's [11.4]). They can often provide information or assistance, and may even be able to provide a home for the babies. This also goes for injured or sick hedgehogs that you might happen across.

Subject: <12.4> Hedgehog housing

Most European countries are very protective about their native hedgehogs, so this section does not refer to caging or keeping hedgehogs, but more about providing shelter and protection for those that come to visit, or to spend their winter's nap in your yard or garden.

Providing housing that is suitable to hedgehogs can both encourage them to live in your area, and be frequent visitors, and it can also provide a safe place for them to spend the winter, rather than curling up in a pile of leaves or compost that can lead them to grief.

Here are some ideas from Peter Captijn on providing dens (see [12.4] also):

Peter also sent along some great drawings, which I will try to ASCIIize and include down the road.

The British Hedgehog Preservation Society [11.4] actually produces a booklet on making hedgehog dens, and I believe they at least used to sell hedgehog houses at one point.

The idea behind creating a den or house is to create a well ventilated, cave-type structure, that can be packed with leaves and grasses to create a cozy den. This can be partially underground, depending on what you have available to you, such as by burying a wooden box (upside down) with a short underground access.

For winter, it should be well insulated with plenty of leaf litter and the like, and protected from strong winds.

The next point that comes up is where to put it. Sticking your nice new hedgehog house out in the middle of a well trimmed lawn is not likely to get much prickly approval. Dens or houses should generally go along natural borders, which are where hedgehogs are most likely to travel. It should also be in a location that is not too busy -- either with human or furry traffic.

The best advice I can give, is to try and think like a hedgehog. You're active in the dark and you don't see terribly well, but you don't want a den that every badger in town is going to find an easy trail to.

Subject: <12.5> Hedgehogizing your garden

There are a lot of things you can do to make your garden more appealing and safer for visiting hedgehogs -- all of which will encourage them to visit. Of course, having a bumper crop of slugs and beetles is probably number one on the hedgehog's list, but likely somewhere below the bottom of yours!

If you want to attract hedgehogs to your garden (assuming they are native to your area), one of the best ways (as always with hedgehogs) is bribery. Put out some food, preferably something like canned cat or dog food, or some cooked eggs (scrambled supposedly works well).

Fresh water is always a good lure too, though beware of offering too much in the way of a swimming pool without a way out (see section [12.7]).

One thing to beware of is that most pesticides are not safe for hedgehogs. If you use a lot of pesticides on your garden, you should not be trying to attract hedgehogs, unless the idea is to replace the pesticides with the hedgehogs, and if so, discontinue the pesticides first.

Probably the biggest worry in this respect (pesticides) is slug bait. If there are hedgehogs in your area, you should not be using slug bait as it will almost certainly find its way into a hedgehog with unpleasant and often dire consequences for the hedgehog. There are plenty of safe ways to deal with slugs -- including hedgehogs.

Subject: <12.6> Wild hedgehog health

For the most part, wild hedgehogs are quite able to look after themselves, except when they encounter humans in some form or another. There are some maladies that do affect wild hedgehogs -- usually as the result of stress or injury.

One particular problem to note, occurs primarily in autumn babies. That is that they do not pack on enough weigh to be able to survive hiberating. Hedgehogs need to weight at least 500-600 grams in order to have a reasonable chance of surviving hibernation. If you have autumn babies in your garden that are too small to hibernate successfully, you may need to bring them indoors for a while, and fatten them up.

Here is a reminder from Peter Captijn that as friendly as wild hedgehogs are, they are still wild animals and certain realities apply:

Also from Peter are some pointers on various other health problems:

[Editor's note: hedgehogs `can' get rabies, but due to the way they live, it is exceptionally rare, at least as compared to other, more aggressive or easily bitten animals]

In my other readings and researches I've learned that the level of vermin (fleas, ticks, mites, etc.) on wild hedgehogs often has a lot to do with their living conditions, or more specifically how stressful they are. Hedgehogs living well out in the country, with a plentiful supply of food and water, relatively little or no pollution, or problems from human encroachment, will have little, or not detectable vermin. Those which are under much more stress will have considerably higher levels of hitchhikers.

Injuries can provide an opportunity for various vermin to infest a hedgehog. If you are helping a visiting friend out, check for ticks and even maggot infestations where wounds or injuries might have happened. Maggots might need to be removed from the wound with a pair of tweezers, and the wound thoroughly cleaned with an antiseptic solution.

Ticks should be treated with something designed to kill them. Don't try to simply remove them, or their mouth parts will be left attached, causing infection and more serious problems.

I would suggest the book _The_Natural_Hedgehog_ to anyone who is planning to try and help out hedgehogs in need. Also, don't try to treat anything more than minor problems without the help of a qualified veterinarian.

If all else fails, or you aren't sure what to do, get in touch with one of the organizations listed in section [11.4] -- they will be happy to assist you in helping a little friend.

Subject: <12.7> Dangers to wild hedgehogs

When it comes to protecting hedgehogs, there is usually little danger to them in the garden, or any other truly natural habitat, from other animals or objects, as illustrated here by Peter Captijn:

That said, there are dangers lurking in many gardens and yards, and dogs can cause serious injuries to hedgehogs, especially young ones. Again, here are some words of wisdom from Peter Captijn:

One of the worst things by way of pesticides is slug bait. This builds up in slugs, which are one of the hedgehogs favorite foods, and hence in the hedgehog. If possible, avoid the slug bait and let the hedgehogs do the slug-removal, or if you must use it, make sure you keep hedgehogs out of your garden.

Another, somewhat odd problem is that hedgehogs seem to compulsively crawl into or through things (or at least try to, often becoming stuck). This includes cans, plastic rings from drink cans, nets, plastic yogurt or ice cream cups, and even key-rings. Why they feel a need to go into or through instead of around is anyone's guess, but anything a hedgehog can get into, he will, and if it's possible to become stuck, he will. Keeping your garden free of such objects will help ensure the safety of the hedgehogs that visit you.

Also, pools and ponds present a unique problem to visiting hedgehogs. Many man-made pools and ponds have smooth sides, which are too slippery or steep for a hedgehog, who has accidentally fallen in, to climb out. One of the easiest safeguards I have seen for this is to simply dangle a thick rope into the water and tie the other end off to a stake. This is usually enough for a hedgehog to climb out with. Hedgehogs can swim, and will follow around the outside of the pool or pond looking for some way to get out. The only time they tend to drown is in cases where they get too tired searching for a non-existent way out. Another method some people use is to create a wooden or cloth ramp, with one end floating in the water, and the other end safely attached on dry land.

As a summary of dangers to hedgehogs, here is a list composed by David Mantle of some of the hazards that face wild hedgehogs in our modern world. I've added a few items and annotated a few others for clarity.

Hedgehogs truly possess an incredible ingenuity for turning the most mundane of objects or situations into something with dire consequences for them. If there is a way they can get into trouble, they will. If they can't get into trouble, they will invent a way.

Subject: <12.8> Watching out for hibernating hedgehogs

European hedgehogs hibernate during the winter months (or cold months, depending on where you might be located), unlike wild African Pigmy hedgehogs who tend to do the opposite, aestivating [12.1] during the hot dry periods [7.3].

The core hibernation months for hedgehogs, in Europe, are typically January through March, with some hedgehogs who haven't put on enough weight in time still staying up and around until February (usually desperately trying to add to their winter fat so they can survive the cold).

Hibernation is a tough time for hedgehogs. If they haven't put on enough weight, or if it is a particularly long or cold winter, they just might not make it. However, even well fed hedgehogs who think they've found the ideal, snug, warm place to survive the winter can run into modern problems, as described by Seabury Salmon:

Before you start burning your leaves, etc., give the pile a quick check in case a friendly neighborhood hedgehog has made a winter den in the middle of your refuse.

[Forgive me Peter, but I wish I lived with your idea of ``real cold'' -- that sounds like a nice warm spring or autumn day! -- Ed.]

Hedgehogs will often remain curled up in hibernation until well into April. If you discover one in a pile of leaves in your garden in the spring, you can give him a good start to the year by putting out a pan of dog or cat food where he will find it when he wakes up. You may even gain a friend who will continue to visit your garden.

I should probably point out that hedgehogs do not need to hibernate, and if given the opportunity to not do so, they certainly will not hibernate! It is primarily because food is not available during the cold weather that they go into hibernation (witness the fact that many animals don't hibernate in the same climate). Because of this, rest assured that you aren't doing any harm by keeping a hedgehog from its winter's nap.