Hedgehog Awareness Week occurs during the first week of May each year. The British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) helps raise awareness through campaigns, advocacy and educational projects so that practical steps can be taken to reverse the decline of hedgehogs in the wild. The BHPS also funds research to gain further insights into these much-loved creatures. Through Hedgehog Awareness Week, the BHPS aim to draw attention to the work they do and encourage the British public to get involved. But what can you do to help this endangered species? Read on to find out more…


How can I help hedgehogs?


There are a number of things you can do to help hedgehogs thrive in your local area, starting in your garden:


  • Make sure that any piles of leaves or logs are left undisturbed. They can make an effective hedgehog nest and will also double up as a great habitat to attract a rich feast of earwigs, centipedes and woodlice.


  • Cover any drains or deep holes that hedgehogs could fall into. If you have a pond or swimming pool, make sure there is an easy way out. Although hedgehogs can swim, they sometimes need a helping hand. Try placing half submerged rocks near the water’s edge, to help them should they get stuck.


  • When spring arrives and gardening begins, be sure to check grassy areas before using a lawn mower or strimmer. This will prevent any potential accidents with hedgehogs.


  • Avoid using pesticides or poisons that hedgehogs may accidently ingest, whether that be directly or when eating food sources such as beetles, worms and caterpillars.


  •  Although you might find it hard if your garden is your pride and joy, try to leave the gardening as long as possible to allow wildlife to thrive in a more natural habitat.


  • Tidy up any litter that may have been left or blown into your garden to avoid any hedgehogs getting trapped.


What should you do if you find a hedgehog in your garden?


There are a few things to consider if you spot a hedgehog before deciding if any action is needed. If the hedgehog is out at dusk or late evening, this is perfectly normal behaviour and the hedgehog can be left well alone. Leave out a shallow dish of fresh water and some scrummy Spike’s Hedgehog Food to help them with the energy they need to raise their new hoglets or to build up their fat stores ready for hibernation.


If you spot a hedgehog out in winter or in the middle of the day, then it could be that the hedgehog is unwell. In the winter months, hedgehogs traditionally hibernate due to the lack of food available in colder temperatures. However, this is no longer always the case with many hedgehogs coming out of hibernation in winter in search of food. Some hedgehogs, in southerly parts of the country, might not hibernate at all, so seeing a hedgehog out in the winter is not always a reflection of them being unwell. It can be hard to tell if there is something wrong so if in doubt, seek advice from your local hedgehog rescue. 


When should I help a hedgehog?


If you spot a hedgehog in your garden in the winter months or in the middle of the day, check to see if their eyes are open. If they are open then the hedgehog is not in immediate danger but you can continue to monitor from a distance, just to be on the safe side.


If you find one on a road, laying with their eyes closed, or if they look like they might weigh less than 300 grams, they likely need some help.


Other signs that a hedgehog might be in distress and need your help are:


  • Appears to be lethargic – hedgehogs don’t sunbathe. They prefer dark, damp areas so if you happen to see one out in the sun and they’re not moving, it is likely there is something wrong.
  • Flies – if a hedgehog has a swarm of flies surrounding them, they urgently need some help. 
  • Wobbly – while out and about, if you spot a hedgehog that seems wobbly when they walk, then the hedgehog is unwell and needs help from a hedgehog rescue.
  • Obviously injured – no matter what the injury is, make sure you speak with a hedgehog expert who can offer support with next steps.
  • Trapped – have they been caught in netting, a pond or in a drain? If so, the hedgehog is going to need a helping hand.
  • Hoglets – if you see hoglets out in the day, without an adult and/or they are squawking, they will need intervention from a hedgehog rescue or the RSPCA.


If you spot a hedgehog that fits one of the above criteria, contact the RSPCA or your local hedgehog rescue, who will be able to offer further assistance. For more help or advice about spotting the signs of a hedgehog in distress, take a look at The British Hedgehog Preservation Society website for more information.

Do you have regular hedgehog visitors in your back garden? Why not add your sightings to our hedgehog map and take part in the Spike’s Great British Hedgehog Survey.


This month’s Hedgehog Hero is 78-year-old Irene Cannon, who was nominated by many for her commitment to helping hedgehogs. Irene has been working alone over the past year as she had to isolate due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Here she tells us about her passion for hedgehogs and her fundraising efforts:


When did you first start looking after hedgehogs?

My involvement with hedgehogs started about 20 years ago when I found a hedgehog out during the day in the autumn months. Looking after the hedgehog made me realise I needed to know much more about their needs in order for me to continue to help them. To build my knowledge and experience I went on the First Aid, Care & Rehabilitation of Hedgehogs Course at Vale Wildlife in Gloucestershire and another in Yorkshire.


After I completed the courses, I realised that helping hedgehogs was a true passion and so that is when I decided to create Furness Hedgehog Rescue.


What is it about caring for hedgehogs that you love?


I love hedgehogs. They ask for so little; just food and water and somewhere to sleep. 

They are the most gentle little creatures – although I have had a few bites over the years!


What can we do to help hedgehogs off the extinction list?


Everyone should put a fresh bowl of water out every night whether you have a garden or not. Dehydration is a terrible thing.


For those that have gardens, it would help hedgehogs immensely if you create a hedgehog highway by simply having a 5″ gap in your fence or wall. If you have a pond, make sure there is an escape route for hedgehogs to get out, as many of them fatally drown in ponds every year.


Do you do any fundraising?


I do lots of fundraising. I sell hedgehog related items, most of which are donated by friends of the rescue. This year has been difficult because of Covid but on dry days I have been putting a small table outside my house to sell some of our hedgehog items. The support has been amazing.


Why do you think so many people nominated you to be a Hedgehog Hero?


I think a lot of people have nominated me because I run the only rescue in the area and I live in a small town where most people know me. Over the years I have saved countless hedgehogs and sometimes have over 100 overwintering or in need of care.


 What does it mean to you to be named the Spike’s Hedgehog Hero for May?


I think it is a great honour to be named May’s Hedgehog Hero with people recognising what I do and appreciating all the effort I put in on a daily basis.


Congratulations to Irene for being named this month’s Hedgehog Hero and for continuing your efforts throughout a difficult year!




Can you remember the last time you saw a hedgehog? For many of us, the last memory of seeing a spiky friend dates back to childhood. That’s not to say that they aren’t still visiting you though, it might be that you’re just not seeing the signs that they’ve been in your garden. If you’re not sure what you should be looking for, here are some top tips for tracking your hedgehog visitors.

  1. Check for hedgehog tracks

As hedgehogs come out at night it can be tricky to spot them or to even know they’ve been. One of the first things to look out for is footprints. The average hedgehog weighs just one kilogram, so footprints are only visible if the ground is soft or wet. Check for footprints in muddy parts of your lawn or in flower beds. 

A hedgehog footprint is usually around 2.5cm long and 2.8cm wide. They have five toes on both their front and back feet but only four toes show up in their tracks. A hedgehogs front footprints look like little handprints while their back footprints are longer and slimmer.

If you think you can see hedgehog footprints but aren’t 100% sure, you can build a hedgehog tunnel or house and put a sheet of white paper down. This will allow you to see if any tracks or marks are left on the piece of paper by a neighbourhood hedgehog.

  1. Look out for droppings

Finding droppings in your garden is a sure-fire way of knowing that you’ve had some spiky visitors. Not to get too graphic here but just so you know what to look for, hedgehog droppings are dark in colour due to their diet and tend to be found as singular droppings. They can range in size from 15mm to 50mm and look similar to a cat poo but are round on top rather than pointy.

  1. Your garden has been disturbed

As many of you will know, hedgehogs love to settle in large piles of leaves, logs or compost heaps – anywhere that is dark and damp! Your garden visitors will have left a trail as they move around so look for areas of your garden where small tunnels have been forged.

If you suspect a hedgehog has set up home in your garden, try leaving a few large leaves over the entrance of the tunnel or a log pile before dusk and check the following morning to see if the leaves have moved.

  1. Listen for noises

Hedgehogs are known for making quite loud noises and they are capable of making a range of sounds from quiet snuffling, to hissing and even loud screaming, which can sometimes be mistaken for human noises. Listen out at night for snuffling or shuffling sounds in your garden, particularly in spring (as this is when hedgehogs come out of hibernation and begin to look for food or mating partners). During mating season, male hedgehogs can get quite loud as they fight over female hogs.

  1. Set up a hedgehog feeding station

If you’re still not certain whether you’ve had any hedgehog visits, it is worth setting up a hedgehog feeding station. Purchase a specialist hedgehog food such as Spike’s Hedgehog Food and leave a bowl of food and a bowl of water in a hedgehog house (you can buy one or make your own). The hedgehog house will prevent other animals from eating the food so you know for certain that you’ve had hedgehogs visitors. You could even set up a camera close to the feeding station so that you can catch a glimpse of them eating the delicious hedgehog food.

Once you know that you’ve had a spiky visitor, make sure you head to our sighting map to enter your sighting.


Irene Thomson set up Lowton Hedgehog Rescue nine years ago and now cares for up to 45 spiky creatures in her shed at any one time. After many nominations by those that know her, Irene has been named as our Spike’s Hedgehog Hero for April!

How did you first become involved in helping hedgehogs?

I started the rescue centre over 9 years ago after finding a hog that needed help. After taking it to a rescue, I then became involved in the vital work needed to save this species, as they are in serious decline in this country. By setting up my own rescue and attending numerous wildlife courses with Vale Wildlife Hospital and the RSPCA, I have been able to save hundreds of hedgehogs. 

Tell us more about Lowton Hedgehog Rescue?

The rescue is run from a purpose-built and kitted out shed in the garden. In total, the rescue can accommodate 45 hedgehogs at any one time and the busiest seasons are summer and autumn.

I think there are more electrical sockets in the shed than there are in my house! The sockets are needed because of the various pieces of equipment necessary for caring for sick and injured hedgehogs, i.e. incubators, zoo zones with 24/7 heat mats underneath them, examination lighting, microscopes, nebulisers, a fridge for certain medications and a microwave. Not to mention the heater for the winter months and a fan for the hot summer months!  

Outside hutches are insulated as well, plus I have a specially built rehabilitation pen in the garden used for monitoring disabled hogs i.e. amputees, eyesight issues and daytime activity. This is also used for situations where a mum and her hoglets have been disturbed or are in danger and once in the pen the family is safe with the youngsters learning to forage with mum. Hogs do not stay in this pen together as they are primarily solitary animals and can’t be mixed, it is purely used for specific cases before deciding the best situation for their eventual release, i.e. an enclosed garden for some of them.

I also have two small incubators inside my home which are specifically for orphaned hoglets who need two hourly feeds, or for critical cases that need close monitoring in the evening. 

How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected you and what you do?

The year 2020 saw a necessary change in the volunteering system due to the Covid pandemic. Previously, I had volunteers who came each morning to help with the daily task of cleaning out and refreshing all bedding and feeding needs. Now, I only have help three times a week from trusted volunteers who can work without my supervision. The rescue certainly can not function without the wonderful help of these people! 

What is it about caring for hedgehogs that you love?

My passion grows with each successful release of a healthy hedgehog, and also the knowledge that members of the public are now doing far more to help them survive fills me with joy. Many people now have hedgehog boxes in their gardens for the hogs to nest in and also provide food and water. It’s great that we can continue to spread the word about helping hedgehogs through the Lowton Hedgehog Rescue Group on Facebook and through our fundraising efforts.

What can people do to help hedgehogs?

The key thing is to allow hedgehogs to have access to your garden as they need to visit at least 10 gardens a night to find enough natural food. A simple gap or hole in fencing/gates (known as a hedgehog highway) will facilitate this.

Why do you think so many people nominated you to be a Hedgehog Hero?

I was delighted and also humbled by the number of people who nominated me to be a Hedgehog Hero and I know lots of folk follow the stories of the hedgehogs that come through the rescue and join with me on the hogs’ journey to recovery, but also give me moral support when there are the occasions of sadness because not all can be saved.

My rescue work is done voluntarily from my home and I fund the costs mainly by myself. I regularly need a little help to keep up with the daily costs and that’s where my helpers and fosterers come in!  Nominating me as a Hedgehog Hero is also a form of support which I really do appreciate. 

What does it mean to you to be named the Spike’s Hedgehog Hero for April?

I have a fabulous support network of volunteers/fosterers and wouldn’t be able to help such a large number of hogs each year without them. It is a privilege to be nominated as the Spikes ‘Hedgehog Hero’ because I think everyone can play a part in the conservation of a species that is in fast decline in this country. 

Congratulations to Irene for being named our Hedgehog Hero for April, you are an inspiration and a true Hedgehog Hero!



Our Hedgehog Hero for March is six year old Charlie! Charlie has been helping raise money for his local hedgehog rescue since the age of 4, with the help of mum, Lucy. Lucy tells us more about Charlie’s fundraising and his love for hedgehogs:


You must be really proud of Charlie being so enthusiastic about helping hedgehogs from such a young age, can you tell us how he first got involved with Help for Hogs? 


Charlie loves all animals so when our local hedgehog rescue, Help for Hogs, advertised for volunteers in early 2018, I contacted Sue at the rescue and asked if I could volunteer with Charlie. Sue and Clive have been running Help for Hogs since 2015 and they were keen to have Charlie participate. However with him being only four at the time, he couldn’t get involved in the standard day-to-day volunteer work. Knowing he was eager to be involved, Sue suggested Charlie help clean the outside water sources and check and replenish the feeding stations. It was from there his love for hedgehogs grew.


Can you tell us about Charlie’s fundraising efforts?


Charlie often asks Sue and Clive questions about the hogs. He’s inquisitive about the world around him and likes to find out how and why things happen. He quickly became very knowledgeable about the work carried out at Help for Hogs and became particularly interested in the spring when the baby hogs started to appear at the rescue. 


The rescue centres have Brinsea TLC Incubators but these are quite expensive for a small self-funded rescue. Charlie decided he wanted to help buy one. Our wonderful friend, Claire James at The Pedlars Tray in Hereford, helped Charlie come up with the idea of selling hedgehog pencils made with pine cones to raise money. Charlie began to sell the pencils in our village and at The Pedlars Tray. 


With the hedgehog pencils being such a success Charlie took his efforts to the Shobdon Food and Flying Festival and managed to raise £133! Charlie also attended and sold pencils at an event at The Children’s Bookshelf book shop in Hereford, where Author Rosie Wellesley read her books about Isaac the Hedgehog.



At Halloween in 2019, Charlie made limited edition pencils and sold them at Madley Environmental Study Centre. Then at Christmas, he made some festive limited-edition pencils and sold them at some of our local shops. 


Through all of his efforts, Charlie was able to purchase a small Brinsea Incubator that can be set up in a vehicle and taken out on rescues, giving the hogs the best chance to recover. He was also able to purchase a much larger Brinsea Incubator which provides a warm, clean, quiet, safe and controlled environment. This gives orphaned babies and sick hogs the best chance to recover and thrive. 


Where does he get his enthusiasm for helping others?

Charlie is a very caring child who loves nature and the world around him and that’s what drives his passion for hedgehogs and animals in general.


What does Charlie love about hedgehogs? 

Charlie thinks hedgehogs are very cute. He loves the way they move around and the sounds they make. Their spikes remind him of dinosaurs- like a stegosaurus!


What advice do you have to those wanting to get involved in helping hedgehogs? 

Rescues are always in need of volunteers at the centres or with fundraising. Hedgehogs were placed on the red list for British Mammals in July 2020 meaning they are now classified as vulnerable to extinction. Help for hedgehogs is needed now more than ever. Everyone can give a helping hand by putting holes in their fences, creating feeding stations and having awareness of foods that can cause hedgehogs issues (such as sunflower seeds, peanuts and oats, which can give hogs metabolic bone disease). Hedgehog houses and wildlife-friendly planting can also help hedgehogs thrive in our gardens as well as removal of any hazards. 


Following your local rescue or the BHPS on social media is beneficial if you want to raise awareness and provide support. Volunteering is massively rewarding and a great way of boosting your mental health!


What does Charlie have in the pipeline to help hedgehogs? 

Charlie is currently fundraising for a new microscope that will help identify nasties such as lungworm, roundworm and fluke. The hedgehogs can then receive the necessary treatment before they are released back into the wild. When we went into the first lockdown in 2020 and all of the shows and events were cancelled, Charlie began to sell rainbow-coloured hedgehog pencils outside of our home, with £1 from every pencil going to the NHS. The pencils are now on sale at Bartestree Stores in Hereford. 


What does Charlie see himself doing when he is older? 

Charlie wants to be a doctor, a vet, a palaeontologist or a biologist when he is older. He also has a passion for art and would love to be an artist. If he could, he would become all of the above!


Well done Charlie for all of your hard work, we’re proud to have you as our Spike’s Hedgehog Hero for March! 



With the weather warming up and the sun appearing more and more, it means spring is here and the hedgehogs are coming out of hibernation! Remember, our spiky friends will be low on energy from their long sleep and will need lots of food and water to help them re-energise. Be sure to greet your local hedgehogs with tasty and nutritious treats like our Spike’s Hedgehog Food.

What time of year do hedgehogs come out?

Hedgehogs typically start to come out of hibernation from late March onwards, as the temperatures get warmer and the seasons change. This is the time of year they are most hungry and need lots of nutritious food and fresh water to replenish their energy stores. It’s worth remembering that hedgehogs can lose up to a third of their body weight by the time they come out of hibernation!

When hedgehogs first come out of hibernation, this is the best time to start feeding them, as natural food sources may still be scarce due to the slowly rising temperatures.

At this time of year, you might be tempted to get out into the garden and start tidying things up ready for the summer months. Remember not to be too tidy; even though hedgehogs are coming out of hibernation, they will still only come out at night time and may be snoozing in your hedges or in a pile of leaves during the day. 

As you start tending to your gardens you might think about putting slug pellets down. Slugs are a part of a hedgehogs diet and any chemicals used in slug pellets will also affect hedgehogs that eat these slugs. Instead, try protecting your plants with non chemical methods, so the slugs can still live in your garden without causing damage and continue to be sustenance for hedgehogs.


What months are hedgehogs active?

Once out of hibernation, hedgehogs remain active through spring and summer and start to think about hibernation again in late autumn, typically at the end of November. Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, sleeping through the day and venturing out at dusk to find food or to meet potential mating partners.

 As we move into April, all hedgehogs will now be active and will be searching for nesting sites and mates. It’s important to keep leaving out food and water as they need to have replenished their fat stores ready for the mating season and they also need energy to search for a suitable nesting place. 

 May is the official mating season for hedgehogs with females giving birth to their little hoglets in June. In July, hoglets will start emerging from their nests on the lookout for food and will slowly become more and more independent from their mothers. Hoglets are usually fully self-reliant by August.

 As autumn comes back around, some female hedgehogs may have had their second litter of hoglets, although later litters might struggle to gain the weight needed for hibernation. Juveniles weighing under 300g may not yet have been weaned or could have been orphaned if found on their own. If you happen to find one contact your local specialised hedgehog rescue, who will be able to provide the specialist care needed to support juveniles in time for winter. Nesting for hedgehogs begins in October and they will be eating plenty of food ready for hibernation again in November!

Keeping some fresh, clean water and some yummy Spike’s Hedgehog Food available throughout the year will support your garden visitors each season and help keep them off the list of threatened species.

 What temperature do hedgehogs come out of hibernation?

 Hedgehogs do prefer the weather to be warmer so will emerge when temperatures reach around five-degree Celsius, which tends to be in the month of March. However, it may be as late as April until all of our spiky friends are active again.

 Although the majority of hedgehogs hibernate at some point during the year (some may not start hibernating until around christmas time) if the temperature stays relatively warm (above 5 degrees) then some hogs have been known to not hibernate at all. This has been documented in the South of England where temperatures remain warmer than the North throughout the year.

Another one of the key reasons hedgehogs may not hibernate is the abundance of food being provided by all of you hedgehog heroes! This has enabled many hedgehogs to get nice and fat, meaning they can survive the winter without the need to protect fat stores by hibernating. No matter the time of year, if you see any hedgehogs out and about in the day time, make sure to contact your nearest Hedgehog Rescue and they will be able to advise you on the best course of action.

 Do you have spiky friends in your garden? Make sure you share your pictures with us on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.

The sight of a friendly, cute hedgehog snuffling around the garden on the lookout for something yummy always brings a smile to the face. But what can you feed hedgehogs to keep them coming  back? Look no further than Spike’s Hedgehog Food we have worked hard over the years to provide your spiky garden visitors with the tastiest and most nutritious food possible! But what benefits do your local hoggies gain from our Spike’s Food? Here are just a few…


Spike’s Crunchy Dry Food

Your local hedgehogs must get as much nutrition as possible to keep them fit as a fiddle, and that’s what our Spike’s Crunchy Dry Food was made to do! Specially made to cater to a hedgehog’s dietary needs, our Spike’s Crunchy Dry Food is free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives and high in fibre. Whether you choose to stock up with a large 2k bag or choose a smaller 650g pack, our yummy hedgehog food is perfect for keeping your local hoggies healthy and happy.


Spike’s Tasty Semi-Moist

A delicious complementary food for hedgehogs, our Spike’s Tasty Semi-Moist is a yummy Hedgehog Hospital approved food that’s filled with all the nutritional goodness your local hogsters need to survive and thrive. Whether served on its own or mixed with some of our other yummy hedgehog foods, our Spike’s Tasty Semi-Moist is guaranteed to attract spiky visitors to your garden!


Spike’s Meaty Feast

With a new and improved recipe, your local hedgehogs will see more benefits than ever form our scrumptious Spike’s Meaty Feast. Now made with 100% natural ingredients including 70% chicken and pork, this tasty treat is suitable for hedgehogs of all ages, meaning its perfect young autumn juveniles looking to build their strength up. With such yummy flavours and nutritional value, your spiky pals will keep coming back for more and more!


Spike’s Insect Crumble

Packed with essential vitamins and minerals and very, very tasty, our Spike’s Insect Crumble is made with a highly nutritious recipe to provide hedgehogs with everything they need. This yummy treat is made from a mix of probiotic pellet, roasted suet granules and black soldier fly larvae that’s high in calcium and rich in omega 3. This is the perfect tasty snack for hedgehogs looking for something a little different.

Behind dogs and cats, hedgehogs might just be the nation’s favourite animal. One need only look at the fact there are currently over 2 million hedgehog videos on YouTube to see that people can’t get enough of these little spiky wonders. That’s why we’ve put together some little known facts to help you brush up on your knowledge and keep you clued up with your hog-obsessed friends.

A group of hedgehogs is called an array

You won’t have much chance to see an array for yourself though; hedgehogs are solitary creatures, and usually only come together to mate.

Hedgehogs rely on their hearing and sense of smell

Due to their poor eyesight, hedgehogs depend on their hearing and sense of smell during the daytime when they’re out and about. Because of their nocturnal lifestyle, a hedgehog’s eyesight works better in the dark.

Hedgehogs are illegal as pets in certain American states

Because they qualify as wild animals in some areas, many US states and cities ban people from keeping hedgehogs domestically. This includes New York, Washington, California, Arizona, and Pennsylvania. While they are allowed to be kept as pets in some areas, you need a permit to own a hedgehog. And though it is legal to keep a hedgehog as a pet in the UK, it is generally frowned upon due to their natural inclination toward living in the wild and their survival needs.

Where the name “hedgehog” comes from…

The “hedge” part of the name comes from their preferred habitat of garden hedges. The hog part comes from the pig-like noises they make.

…And what happened to their old name

Before they had their adorable name of today, our spiky friends were referred to as urchins during the Middle Ages. Once they gained their new name, their old one was then used for sea urchins. However, baby hedgehogs, or “hoglets”, are still sometimes referred to as urchins.

Hedgehogs used to be the focus of Groundhog Day

The yearly tradition originally began in Germany and was brought to America by settlers. But because hedgehogs aren’t indigenous to America and hadn’t been introduced to the ecosystem yet, they had to go for the next best thing for their weather predictions, which was a groundhog.

The idea hedgehogs gather food with their spikes is a myth

This idea started when medieval bestiaries and texts began showing hedgehogs gathering food with their spikes, and the image has stuck ever since. However, this is inaccurate, as they usually eat food that they come across as soon as they find it to help build up their weight.

The earliest known hedgehog lived around 58 million years ago

The Litoestes, the ancestor of the modern-day hedgehog, lived during the Palaeocene period and is the earliest member of the hedgehog family discovered so far. The smallest hedgehog in history, the Silvacola Acares, arrived sometime after, as it lived in northern British Columbia 52 million years ago. It was about 2 inches long.

They have an odd practice

When hedgehogs come across toxic substances like poisonous plants, they enact a routine called “anointing”, where they lick the substance until they form frothy saliva, which they then rub on their skin and spines. No one’s exactly sure why they do this; one possibility is that they make themselves taste less palatable to predators, while another is that it works as a kind of olfactory camouflage.

People used to think hedgehogs were witches in disguise

Because people used to see hedgehogs as harbingers of doom in the Middle Ages, this then led to people believing they were witches in disguise during the witch-hunting days. It also led to Shakespeare referencing them in his plays, usually as an insult. You can find the use of hedgehogs in his plays Richard III, Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth.

Bonfire Night may be a fun night for us, but it is one of the biggest risks of the year for hedgehogs. As hedgehogs continue to search for the most secure and safe place for them to hibernate through the winter, they may come across a bonfire and think this is a safe hibernation spot. That’s why we’ve put together a few steps for you to take to help keep your local hogs safe on Bonfire Night.


Build your bonfire as close to the celebration as possible

Even though it may be more convenient for you to build your bonfire earlier in the day or even the day before, this will give hedgehogs more time to find their way into the pile of wood and make themselves comfortable. It also means there is more of a risk of more than one hedgehog finding their way into the bonfire. That’s why it’s much safer for you to build your bonfire as close to the start of the evening’s celebrations as possible, giving your local hedgehogs less time to get in the pile.


Regularly check your bonfire

As hedgehogs will be looking for the safest, most secure spots possible for hibernation, they will be burrowing themselves into your bonfire as much as possible. That’s why it’s important that you regularly check your bonfire for any hedgehogs who may have gotten in. As hedgehogs tend to hide in the centre and bottom two feet of the bonfire, make sure to check the pile by gently lifting pieces of the wood section by section, making sure not to disturb the hedgehogs too much. You should use a blunt object like a pole to lift the pieces of wood, as using something sharper or harder like a spade or fork could accidentally harm the hedgehog.

If you do find a hedgehog, place it in a high-sided cardboard box with plenty of towelling. Make sure there are air holes in the box before securely placing the lid on the box, as hedgehogs are gifted climbers. Put the box in a safe place away from the bonfire. Once the celebrations are over and the bonfire is completely dampened, you can release the hedgehog under a hedge, bush or behind a stack of logs far away from the remains of the bonfire.


Put up chicken wire around the bonfire

No matter how careful and vigilant you are, there’s always a chance of a hedgehog slipping past your notice and getting into your bonfire. That’s why it’s important to take precautionary measures to ensure they can’t get to the pile. You can do this by putting chicken wire around the bonfire to keep hedgehogs out. The wire should be held in place with stakes, with the wire sloping outward at an angle to prevent hedgehogs climbing the wire.


Remove all litter and firework debris

It’s a guarantee that there will be a lot of mess after the celebrations are over. With people gathering around to watch the bonfire, there will be litter gathering around the area that could be harmful to not only hedgehogs, but all local wildlife if not properly disposed of. There will also be a lot of firework debris on the nearby grounds that can be harmful too. That’s why it is essential that you properly dispose of litter around the area as soon as the celebrations have finished.

You may be wondering when hedgehog have hoglets, typically hoglets are found in May, June or July. The average size of a litter is four to five. Though they’re just as cute as their elders, hoglets need more care and attention than adult hedgehogs. As they’ve just arrived into the world and haven’t learned the survival instincts they need to last in the wild, hoglets need to be cared for by the mothers until they are ready to go out on their own. That’s why we’ve put together a few tips to help you understand what you should and shouldn’t do if you come across a baby hoglet.

Step 1: Do not disturb a hedgehog’s nest

If the mother is disturbed soon after birth, she may desert her hoglets. So if you find a nest in your garden, you mustn’t touch or interfere with it. Any slight disturbance to the nest or the hoglets themselves can cause the mother to abandon them, leaving the hoglets alone without the care they need.

Step 2: Listen out for hoglet cries

If a hoglet has been left or abandoned by their mother, they will most likely stay in or near the nest, as it’s an area that’s most familiar to them. Nests can often be found under sheds or in hedgerows, log or leaf piles and compost heaps. If they are distressed, they will let out a shrill, bird-like piping. If you hear anything like this, search for the hoglet and then search for any other hoglets that may be nearby.

Step 3: Provide warmth to abandoned hoglets

Abandoned hoglets are very vulnerable creatures, and are often found in a poor state. Without their mother providing food for them, they won’t be able to build up their body weight and will need a source of warmth. That’s why if you find an abandoned hoglet, you will need to keep it in a warm room. It should be placed in a small cardboard box or a similar container, lined with a towel. Place a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel in the bottom of the box. Make sure the water isn’t too hot, as it could be uncomfortable for the hoglet to have too much heat. Place the hoglet on top of the wrapped bottle and cover with further bedding. You will need to change the water bottle every few hours to ensure the hoglet has a regular supply of warmth.

Step 4: Take abandoned hoglets to a local hedgehog hospital

Now that the hoglet is out of the cold and in a safe and warm environment, they will need support and nutrition to survive. But without the mother to provide this, they won’t survive out in the wild on their own, and with daily life in the way, you won’t have the time to give the hoglet the proper care and attention it needs. That’s why the next step for you is to take the hoglet to a local hedgehog hospital. There, the baby will be given the daily care and support it needs to grow strong.