What to Do if You find a Hedgehog Out in the Daytime

Hedgehogs are nocturnal and usually sleep during the daytime. Pregnant or nursing mothers may need to be out during the day. Otherwise, hedgehogs seen in daylight are probably injured or ill. PIck the hog up gently using gloves, place it in a box with a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel and take it to your local animal rescue centre.

Hedgehogs are nocturnal. They are generally found out and about at night. During the day they should be tucked up in their Hedgehog Houses sleeping.

It might be exciting to see a hedgehog out during the day. It’s probably the only chance you get to take a proper look at one.

But if you do see one in the daytime it’s quite likely to be in trouble and needs your help.

In this article, we are going to take a look at the different reasons why hedgehogs might be out and about in the daytime. We’re going to explain when and how you can help and when you should leave well alone.

What to Do About Hedgehogs Out in the Daytime

What you should do with a hedgehog you see out in the daytime will depend on what the hedging is doing, how it looks and what time of year it is.

If you decide the hedgehog needs rescuing you can find your local rescue centre here.

Adult Hedgehog Looking Busy – Leave Alone

Though hedgehogs are mainly nocturnal there are times when they can come out during daylight hours.

Pregnant females building nests can sometimes be seen during the daytime bustling about with mouthfuls of leave.

And nursing mothers may take a break from the nest during the day to go and look for food and water.

So, if you see a decent-sized adult out and about looking busy during the day it is probably fine and you should leave it to go about its business.

Hedgehog Sunbathing on the Lawn – Rescue

Seeing a hedgehog apparently “sunbathing” out in the open on your lawn or paths may look cute but the hog is probably in serious trouble.

Hedgehogs lying out like this are often very ill, probably with an overload of worms or parasites.

Gently scoop up the hog using thick gardening gloves, wrap it in a towel, place it in a box with a wrapped hot water bottle and keep it in the house until you can get it to your local hedgehog rescue.

Hedgehog Staggering Around, Drunk – Rescue

Hogs looking drunk probably have hypothermia and need to be warmed up as soon as possibly.

Pop it in a box with a wrapped hot water bottle and call for help.

Hedgehog Dragging One Leg – Vet

It’s quite easy for hedgehogs to break a leg and quite easy to get fractures fixed. This hog also needs rescuing but it’s one for the vet, not your local rescue centre.

Not all vets will treat hedgehogs so call ahead to check.

As well as placing the hog in a warm box you could also try offering a little water in this case.

Hedgehog Dragging Both Legs – Vet

If a hog is dragging both legs it’s more likely to have a spinal injury. This may or may not be fixable. The vet will need to take a look at the hog.

When you rescue in this case. Rather than scooping the hog in your hands try to slip a piece of board or stiff card under it to keep the spine immobile.

It won’t be possible to save every hog with a spinal injury but as each hedgehog life is so important to the species it’s well worth a try.

Hedgehog Coughing – Rescue

This could well be a bad case of lungworm which sounds nasty but is easily curable by your local rescue centre. So get the hog to them as soon as possible.

Learn what to listen for in our guide to hedgehog noises and what they mean here.

Caught in Netting – Rescue

Hedgehogs are inquisitive. They will stick their noses into all sorts of things. And if you’re covered in long spines, once you’ve stuck your nose into something it can be tricky to get back out again.

A rescue centre can sort this out easily.  But don’t try to do it yourself. Take the hog and the netting to the rescue centre. If you have to cut the netting to get the hog free cut as far away from the hog as possible and try to avoid pulling.

Hedgehog With Cuts and Missing Spines – Rescue

A hedgehog with cuts, flesh wounds and patches of missing spines is likely to have been hit by a car or strimmer, or attacked by a dog.

Healthy hedgehogs are surprising good healers and even hogs who look in a pretty bad way can make a good recovery if kept clean and dry.

So once again, box him up and take him to the rescue centre.

Hoglets Out in the Daytime – Observe

If you see babies or young hedgehogs out in the day without their mother don’t immediately rush in to help.  The mother may actually be close by.

So take some time to watch what they are doing. Ideally, place yourself downwind of the hoglets if you can. They have an excellent sense of smell.

If the mother doesn’t show up and the hoglets start making “pipping” noises they will need to be rescued.

Don’t be tempted to try to raise baby hedgehogs yourself as you might a baby bird. Hoglets are delicate creatures with complicated needs. Their best chance of survival is with the mother. But failing this they will need trained, specialist helpers to survive.

Skinny Hog Out in Autumn – Feed

Autumn juvenile hogs, or hogs born later in the summer, may struggle to get to the weight they need to safely hibernate. In this situation there sometimes aren’t enough hours in the night for a young hog to get all the food he needs. So you may see them out and about in the day.

In this situation, you should weigh the hog. It needs to be 600gms to safely hibernate. If it’s under that, offer food each night for a little while and weigh again. If the hog is up to 600gms your work is done. If not, give your local rescue centre a call.

It may need to be overwintered indoors to stand the best chance of surviving.

Dead Hedgehog?

If you think you have found a dead hedgehog check very carefully before you discard or abandon it.

Sick or injured hedgehogs can be very cold and still. They may look and feel dead when they are actually still alive with a chance of survival.

Put the hedgehog into the warm rescue box and it may well start to show signs of life.

Conclusion: Hedgehogs out in the Daytime Often Need Help

Since hedgehogs are nocturnal if we see them out in the daytime it’s often a sign that something is wrong and they may need our help.

In this article, we’ve tried to explain how you can help, and when it’s better to leave them alone.

We hope you found the article useful and interesting.

If you would like more information on how to help hedgehogs visit:

The British Hedgehog Preservation Society.

Hedgehog Street.

And if you spot a hedgehog in trouble, you can find your local hedgehog rescue project by clicking here.

If you have a question or suggestion we would love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment below.

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22 Responses

  1. Thank you now assured I have juvenile that I can feed up keep warm and release in a few days as we have large garden bordering a field

  2. Hello,
    We have just seen a Hedgehog out in the Garden. It looked a smallish size but didnt seem to be in any trouble and didnt look injured.

    I know this is rare to see in the daylight but should we have done something to help?

      1. We have a small hedgehog that came into our garden at around 4pm, is this ok? He looks ok and is happily eating some hedgehog food.

  3. We have a hedgehog in the garden, a decent size, and it seems quite happy walking around the garden it was picking up leaves and taking it to a small garden behind our shed. It now seems to be walking around aimlessly in the garden during day and twilight. Should we be worried?

    1. Hi Sue,

      If its out in the day and looking aimless/confused, yes you should be worried.

      Scoop it up (using gloves, tics or other parasites Amy be part of the problem) get it in a box and contact your local hedgehog rescue or the vet.

      Best of luck and keep us posted!

  4. I have a hedgehog living in a hog house in my garden. I have a nearby feeder which I know it is using at night. But it also seems to be popping out during the day to feed before returning to its house. It’s small, but looks fit and well. There will be food out very close all winter. Do I need to worry?

    1. Hi Anita,

      I think you should contact your local hedgehog rescue. It is pretty cold in most parts of the country now and hedgehogs will struggle to eat enough to keep warm and keep up their body weight in this weather. they really should be hibernating, Weigh the hog before you contact your rescuers, they will want to know the weight.

      Best of Luck!
      Clare

    2. If I see it out tomorrow may try and weigh it. We have some big hogs in our garden so maybe it’s not as small as I think. We are in South Wales and it’s not that cold here yet. Last year the hogs didn’t hibernate at all, though I didn’t see any out during the day.

  5. Hi there I saw a big hedgehog on my lawn tonight . Was very active and ate some hedgehog food I put out. But I’m worried as shouldn’t it be hibernating ?

    1. Hi Martyn,

      Don’t worry, they get up to stretch their legs have a drink and maybe even move house several times during the winter. If he was a big hog he should be just fine.

      Best

      Clare

  6. I have a 2 year old male African pygmy hedgehog just this week I’ve noticed that kill come out for a few moments during the day grab something to eat and then go back to his little bed. Is this normal cuz I’ve never have noticed him doing this before? Thanks !

  7. I found a female hedgehog in my garden on Sunday. She was active and seemingly fit and well. I offered her some sliced raw meat which she gobbled up. I imagine that she had just woken up from hibernation and was feeling hungry.

  8. Young adult hedgehog out during the day, eating jettisoned meat cat food. Looks in good condition. Retired to sun-dappled leaf litter for a snooze before re-emerging for more catfood, and wandered off in the opposite direction.

  9. Found an adult hedgehog in the garden this morning. Not moving much but did move a little and is still breathing.

    As it’s out during the day and didn’t “Look Busy”, i’m guessing it needs help?

    I’ve put it in a cage (using gloves) and left it some water. Also tried to give it a little cat food.

    Who do I contact to rescue it? Local vet? Or SSPCA (I’m in Scotland).

    Any guidance would be great.

    Thanks.

    1. Hi Jay,

      Yes it sounds like your hog needs help. Any of the places you mentioned would be good.

      Hope you go t it sorted.

      Best

      Clare

  10. Medium size Hedgehog wandering around garden during the day. It looks active enough and seems to be feeding. Do I leave it ? I put out plenty of food at night for fox and cubs and the hedgehogs just happily feed alongside the fox. The fox just ignore the Hedgehog.

  11. Found a smallish lady on the front path. Fed her some cat food and she gobbled it up. She went to sleep afterwards.
    Left her for approx 15 mins and got her into a box with a hot water bottle and a towel.
    Waiting for a lady to come and get her, she doesn’t appear ill but wondering if she may have babies nearby?

  12. I’ve seen the same small(ish) hedgehog out in what is 7ft by 5t gravel garden bed surrounded by flower pots etc the past 3 or 4 days and tonight i gave in and left a scrambled egg, cucumber and mushrooms for her incase she was starving. There is a small local park on the same road literally 10 metres further up and across the road, in which there is a vegetable plot. I would be worried perhaps about pesticides if i were to take her and release her there, and the park itself is relatively small with a high volume of pet dogs too. What would you advise? The street i live on is relatively quiet but its still not ideal for the little thing to be living in the gravel bed garden.

  13. There’s a hedgehog who’s been living in our back garden for a few years, who has started to get up regularly at 6pm for the past 10 days or so – or since all of the wet weather disappeared. It doesn’t appear to be poorly. It eats the dried hedgehog food which I leave out and then scurries off into our neighbours garden. Having read about hedgehogs being in trouble during the day, I’m not sure if I should intervene or not. Advice welcome please. Many thanks.

    1. Hey Sophie

      It’s not unusual to see hogs out and about in the early evening at this time of year even though it’s still light. Hours of darkness are getting shorter, and hogs lives are getting busier, what with nesting, and mating and rearing hoglets. so it gets to a point where there just arent enough hours in the night to get everything done.

      As long as the hog looks fit, healthy and purposeful no need to worry.

      clare

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