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, if you see hedgehogs in daytime they 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.

hedgehogs in daytime

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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57 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

  14. I have seen a good size hedgehog in my garden twice this past week, once was when it was dark and second time it was daylight. it seemed to be foraging for food on both occasions, it looked well and was walking fine, should I leave food and water out for it or contact my local rescue?

    1. Hi Laura,

      At this time of year when the nights are very short, they will sometimes forage in the day, so if it looks well, then no need to worry.

      Best

      Clare

  15. My little yorkie was barking excitedly in the garden yesterday afternoon It was sunny weather. When I went to look there was a hedgehog curled up in a ball. It was twitching and moving slightly. There were lots of green/blue flies all around it. I covered the hedgehog with ferns and greenery and most of the flies disappeared. I then put down some recommended hedgehog food and water. An hour later I went over to the secluded area to see if it had eaten any of the food I had put down. The hedgehog had completely gone and could not be found anywhere. Some of the food had been eaten. It is an area of piled high logs and greenery. Should I get a hedgehog house and feeder and put nearby.

  16. My neighbour found a small hedgehog wandering on the road today at 3:30pm. It is in a box with some bedding and I have given it cat food and it ate. It is only about 4 inches long, not sure what it weighs. Should I take it somewhere?

  17. Looking for some advice. We have a resident mama hog and has 2 hoglets this year. They look healthy, are growing well and seem very alert. What worries me is that they’re they’ve been coming out earlier and earlier. Today I’ve just had to put one back near they’re cosy log pile as they’d actually come inside the house. They’re sibling was also up and about close to the log pile. It’s only just gone mid day so it’s very early to see them.

    1. Hi Kayleigh,

      You’re the second person this week who’s mentioned a hedgehog coming into the house – I wonder if its the hot weather?

      In high summer when nights are really short it’s not unusual to see them out in the daytime. There just arent enough hours of darkness for them to get all their foraging done.

      Plus in this very hot, dry weather digging worms and grubs out of the ground is more of a challenge.

      So, if they look healthy I shouldn’t worry, just keep an eye on them and keep providing food and water.

      Best

      Clare

  18. Hello there, I live in a ground-floor apartment in Germany with a little patio, and was surprised to see a hedgehog eating the peanuts I left out for the birds last night (it got spooked and ran a bit when I turned the light on). All was well until today about 5pm the hedgehog came back for more! I didn’t think much until I read that it’s very unusual to see them during daylight. He/she seemed quite sprightly, eating and going to the corner for a poo, and eating some more.

    What worries me is I noticed it was scratching a lot, and being bothered quite a bit by a fly. I took some photos and examined as best I could and didn’t see any eggs or anything like that on its body…. Should I be worried and try to catch it next time I see it during the day? Or leave it be? Also, I am now aware peanuts aren’t the best nutrition so I’m going to pick up some proper food for it later, and put the peanuts for the birds up higher.

    1. Hi Nicole,

      I think I would just keep observing the hog for a while. Although they are usually nocturnal animals in the summer its not unusual to see them out in daylight hours – nights are just too short for them to get all their foraging done.

      All wild animals have a certain amount of fleas etc. so if you can’t see eggs then she is probably fine.

      Good call on the peanuts – you know cat food is fine if you struggle to get hedgehogs food.

      And don’t forget the water, really important especially in this wether.

      Best

      Clare

  19. I discovered a smallish hedgehog (about the size of a large mango) in my garden mid afternoon yesterday and again at 1:30 pm today. It has a nest behind some slabs leaning up against my garage on the grass. It seems happy enough. Wanders around nuzzling the grass looking for food I assume. It happily ate some cat food of a spoon from my outstretched arm. Concerned it’s our during the day though. It seems young, perhaps orphaned? Any recommendations on what I should do? I’m just observing at the moment.

    Thanks
    Steph

    1. Hi Stephanie,

      Out in the daytime isn’t usually a good sign, but in high summer nights are so shout that they do sometimes need to venture out during the day just to get enough foraging done.

      Observing is the right approach. If he continues to look well and alert then I should keep feeding and let him be. If he starts to look dozy or drunk, then its time to call your local rescue.

      Best of luck!

      Clare

  20. Hi there
    We have a pregnant hedgehog, she is big well feed and water is left out, she has been coming out 5am for 3 hours collecting grass and bits building her nest. I have come home today and found her laying out on the patio heavy breathing. I put food and water out for her and after 30 mins she has eaten and drunk, she has now fallen asleep. Is this ok?

    1. Hi Shelley,

      No, laying out on the patio heavy breathing doesn’t sound OK, your message is a few days old. but I think if this happens again, you need to give your local rescue a call.

      Hope she is OK.

      Best

      Clare

  21. Hi I found a hedgehog in my garden this morning with 4 babies. 2 of the babies are still outside of the nest and one of them has a few ticks and I’m not sure what to do. The mother is still around she’s been out and about checking on them and the other 2 are in the nest I think

    1. Hi Debbie,

      This all sounds perfectly normal and great to see a mum with a healthy litter. You will often see them outside in midsummer because the nights are so short.

      And a few ticks is nothing to worry about, it’s natural if a bit yuck! Just keep putting out the food, and especially water, keep an eye on them, and enjoy!

      Best

      Clare

  22. Hi Clare – so glad I have found your site! I nearly casue a pile-up today when I nraked hard for a hedgehog crossing the rad at about 3pm. It was moving at a pace and I just wanted it to be safe off the road. It climbed the kerb and went off into a field. But I did remember that they should not usually be out during the day, so my research brought me here.
    I also have what I thought was unfortunately an enclosed garden, although have left the top 4/5 feet by width of garden to grown long (and beyond that is what I call the Dead Zone – still techinically my garden, but gated off and goodness knows what happens in there. So I do leave food out for a neighbourhood cat, who has adopted me (and brought him back to good health) – BUT, late the other night, I could see in the dim light – and hear – a nicely rounded hedgehog eating the cat’s food (dried Purina biscuits). The next night, the cat got to it first, so now I have the dilemma – in effect, what I can I put out for the hedgrhog that won’t be eaten by the cat? Please help me know what to do for the best, and to keep them all happy……. I don’t mind getting special Hedgehog food, if that will do the trick, but am seeking your advice first.
    Thank you so much in advance. I hope you can get back to me soon xx

    1. Hi Cheryl,

      How exciting!

      The cat will eat the hedgehog food too I’m afraid, it’s all meat-based. Your best bet will be to get a feeding station, this will let the hedgehog in to feed and keep the cat out.

      Best of luck!

      Clare

  23. Found a rather large hedgehog in the garden. Hight of summer 30+ degrees. There are several conflicting pieces saying that they are in need in the day and to leave them alone.
    On first read, I have picked up, placed in a box in the cool, with some water thinking they need to go to a wildlife centre. After reading deep it may be a nesting female…

    What should I do? It did seem a bit lethargic and slow. But I’m sure I would be too if pregnant.

    Any help/info would be greatly received!

  24. Clare,

    We have found a hedgehog out in our garden, and it has been there pretty much all morning. I noticed it because it was repeatedly making a loud squealing sound. It has a fly which keeps jumping on its nose, and I presumed that was annoying it. It is moving around quite a bit in a sort-of shuffling movement. I cannot tell if it is male or female, or really what size it is compared to other hedgehogs. (Someone in the comments compared theirs to a big mango. This one is bigger than a big mango).

    I think I know where its nest is (under a no-longer-used sand table, covered by a large bike cover). I do not know if there’s more than one in the nest, as I’ve not looked yet.

    We cannot get it to a rescue place or have someone round to rescue it because we’re all self-isolating with Covid.

    I’ve offered it soft cat food and water.

    Anything else we should be doing for it?

    1. Hi Chris,

      It sounds like you are doing all you can for the hog in the circumstances.

      Hope you are all OK

      Best

      Clare

  25. Hi Clare

    Today at about 1pm, found a baby hog on its own in my field up against a fence. We’re in rural North Yorkshire. Had found it in more or less the same place yesterday! wasn’t sure if dead, so picked it up & carried it 75m through gate + orchard, & put it down gently next to a hog-house I’d made out of very large pile of branches in angle between 2 walls – water & feeding station also there. Disappeared v. quickly yesterday tho I didn’t see it go. Watched today as it scuttled off very quickly into the pile of branches (though not using the entrance I’d assumed they were!). Food I put out last night (about 2 large handfuls of Brambles Crunchy hedgehog mix) had nearly all gone.

    The hoglet is about the size of my double fist but felt very light, probably no more than about 100g. Had obviously got left behind/lost its family/lost its way/couldn’t find gap under gate 20m away to get home. Should I be worried, or do something different if same happens again tomorrow? Thanks in advance for any advice.

    1. Hi Ry,

      If it’s eating and drinking and moving at a good pace I’d be inclined to leave it and see how it gets on. If it’s still around in late September weigh it if you can. It will struggle to survive hibernation if it is under 500gms and if this happens you may need to call a local rescue.

      But at the moment, it sounds as though it’s nice and healthy, if a little small.

      Best

      Clare

  26. Hi Clare,

    We are lucky enough to have 4hedgehogs around the garden, one a hoglet and about the size of a mango. Yesterday evening I saw the mum about 7.30pm before dusk, today I saw the hoglet at 1pm. It was very overcast and very dark skies. We haven’t observed the hoglet beside his mum for a week now but both still in the garden. The hoglet is moving fine/ busy and was snuffling for food at 1pm, I put some out and it ate some before disappearing at a good speed across to the bushes. Should I be worried?
    Many thanks,
    Liz

    1. Hi Liz,

      It sounds like your hoglet is fine. If he starts wobbling or sunbathing or looks injured in any way then you’d need to intervene.

      But for now, I would just leave well alone and enjoy!

      We often see ours around 7.30-8 at this time of year, and your lunchtime visitor might just have had his sleep disturbed.

      Best

      Clare

  27. Hi, we’ve got a small hedgehog in the garden. It ate some peanuts and cat food. Its awake and out in the day and seems to be sunbathing.

    Should we follow the advice above?

  28. Hello Clare
    I’m just after a bit of reassurance regarding a hedgehog in my garden. I first noticed it in my “conservatory” (really just a covered in area outside the backdoor which is frost-free but with open cat flap access to the back garden) a couple of weeks ago at 6.30 pm. I put some cat food and water down – my cats immediately ate the food! I’ve now got some proper hedgehog food and have seen the hedgehog eating most days since, at around 9.00 am and/or 9.00 pm. It also spent an hour or so one evening chuffling around exploring the conservatory, sounding like a steam train. I’ll keep putting food and water out for it. Initially I was worried to see it during daylight, but as it keeps coming back and is eating I’m assuming it is OK. Should I worry or do anything else?

    1. Hi Trish,

      9 am and pm sightings wouldn’t worry me so long as the hog looks active – so I think just keep up the good work and enjoy!

      Best

      Clare

      1. Thanks Clare – still seeing the hedgehog, and keeping food and fresh water topped up. Judging by the way food is eaten most days it seems to like the local restaurant! Will keep an eye on it later in the year when it gets colder (thankfully for most of the winter it doesn’t get too cold in Cornwall) and will try to weigh it if it doesn’t look chunky (500 gms) , but there are plenty of places in the garden or conservatory where it can hibernate when the time comes if it’s big enough. And I will enjoy!
        Trish

  29. Hi Clare,
    Thank you for the excellent info you have! We have a smallish hedgehog, around 5 to 6inches long, who is eating well and has taken up residence under our wooden decking. Should we get a proper hedgehog house for it to overwinter it? I wasn’t sure if the decking would provide warm enough protection for it. I haven’t had a chance to catch and weigh it yet.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thank you!

    1. Hi Sally,

      A proper hibernation house is always a good option. There is no guarantee that she will use it – but you might attract another hog altogether. It’s important that you have enough nesting materials for them in your garden. Don’t be too quick to tidy up fallen leaves!

      Best of luck

      Clare

  30. Hi

    We found a hoglet today wandering around at lunchtime We left it 10 mins to see what it did, but stayed out in the open and did not move very far. We brought it home and fed it, it’s now snoozing in a fleecy jumper. I weighed it and it’s only 190g, do I put it back where we found it, or feed it up a bit more?

    Many thanks

    1. Hi Gayle,

      Good work bringing it in. At that weight, it is probably very young and separated from its mother prematurely, so it needs specialist help. contact your local rescue for advice.

      Best of luck!

      Clare

  31. Hello, I live on an island off the coast of Germany, in the Baltic Sea. These past few days, I’ve seen a rather large hedgehog foraging. It has always been in the daytime. Once it was early afternoon and it was foraging in a newly planted field. The past two days, it’s been in my back garden. I approached the little cutie today to see if she was okay, because I’d always heard they were nocturnal. She is of a robust weight, all her legs were intact and she was rather actively digging in the grass. My husband said he saw a worm. So maybe she was worm hunting. This was at about 3:30 pm and she continued to explore the garden for at least another 2-3 hours. She had to cover a lot of ground to get from that field to our garden. She has lots of ground cover and places to hide here. Should I be worried for her???

    1. Hi Joanne,

      Though it’s unusual to see them out and about in the day it sounds like she is fit and well. If you have rescuers in your part of the world maybe get in touch and see what they think? I’m not sure what the light levels would be at 3.30 in the afternoon where you are, or how cold its getting at night, both of these could have an impact, so someone more local to you may be able to offer better advice.

      Good Luck!

      Clare

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