Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, so if they are out during the day and appear to be disorientated, underweight, clearly injured, lying exposed or a young juvenile, then this is a time to intervene. However, if none of the above apply, they may be out simply because they feel threatened, or it is close to dawn/dusk. If this is the case, please just keep an eye on them to see how the situation evolves.
Hedgehogs need to be over 600g to survive the winter hibernation, so if you see a hedgehog from November until the spring that looks underweight, please weigh the hedgehog safely on the kitchen scales, or take to your local vet or wildlife centre. If it is over 600g then it can released ready for hibernation, however if it is under 600g then it will need to be housed indoors to gain adequate weight.
Any baby hedgehogs found in a nest that appears abandoned needs to be properly assessed before disrupting the nest. If they are interfered with whilst the mother is still around, she may kill her babies.
If you conclude that intervention is necessary, then using gloves or a towel, gently lift hedgehog from underneath and place into a holed box, or carrier lined with newspaper. Hedgehogs can be very strong, so please ensure the box or carrier is deep enough to allow it to be secured so that the hedgehog cannot escape. Then, please transport the hedgehog to Brent Lodge (or your nearest wildlife centre) as soon as possible. You can provide a bowl of water or plate of tinned pet food (but NEVER milk), but if you are close to a rescue centre this may not be necessary. If dealing with abandoned babies, pick up the entire nest and place in a box. DO NOT feed abandoned baby hedgehogs or attempt to care for them yourself, as they can die very quickly if given the wrong treatment.
Never give milk or bread to a hedgehog, as this can cause serious harm.
To download a leaflet containing more information, tap here (PDF).