Image by Martin Adams

HEDGEHOGS WITH INJURIES AND HEALTH ISSUES

!!!WARNING!!!

THE FOLLOWING IMAGES ARE GRAPHIC

These images and videos show real examples of injuries that hedgehogs endure. These are obvious signs the hedgehog needs help.  This is not a definitive list of issues, but includes the majority of common injuries and health issues that hedgehogs suffer from, or need help with.

 

ORPHANED HOGLETS

When a hoglet (a baby hedgehog) is found that is smaller than a tennis ball when curled up, they will often need help.  These are normally orphaned or have recently wondered away from their nest.  If the hoglet has black and white spines, or is pink skinned, they will need urgent help if alone.

hoglets

FLYSTRIKE

Flystrike is more common during the Spring/Summer months. It is fly eggs / larvae usually between the fur on a hedgehog. Often around the face area, but also near wounded areas of the body.

07 - Flystrike.jpg

EMACIATED OR DEHYDRATED

The hedgehog on the left is underweight, thin, and oval shaped when curled up.  The hedgehog on the right is a healthy hedgehog much rounder and plump.  Often hedgehogs become thirsty during the spring / summer months and hungry during the autumn / winter months. But, this could happen at any time during the year.

Healthy vs Underweight Hedgehog

HEATSTROKE AND DEHYDRATION

Heatstroke can cause hedgehogs to lay out during the day, this is of course not normal being nocturnal. They become very dehydrated and will often lay on their belly with their legs hanging out the sides. If they are laying on their sides then it is very serious.  Often seen in the summer months but also dehydration can be a problem in the winter months. Giving a hedgehog dried food, or any food when they are suffering from this condition can worsen the situation. Only a bowl of water should be offered.

Dehydrated Hedgehog

STRIMMER OR LAWNMOWER INJURIES

Strimmer and lawnmower injuries can be fatal but often the hedgehog will survive and wonder about with the sustained injuries.  It is a good indication that the hedgehog has sustained this type of injury when spines have been cut from the hedgehog.  The hedgehog will often also sustain large gashed open wounds, but not always. Sometimes the injuries are not obvious to sight but internal such as fractured bones.

Strimmer Injury

TRAPPED LEGS OR FEET

One of the most common injuries hedgehogs sustain are leg injuries.  This can happen in so many ways but often their legs have been trapped in something like netting or a fence, or they have been bitten by a larger mammal.  These injuries will likely mean the hedgehog will limp or wobble.  Infections are likely, and is usually the cause of their death if not rescued.

Trapped Foot [Missing Claws

EYE INJURIES

Hedgehogs can suffer injuries to the eyes from fights with other mammals and also as a result from infections from other head injuries that are not obvious.  Often when a hedgehog has sustained a car injury and survived they have this type of injury.  Sometimes one or both eyes could be covered with mucus which blocks their vision. If the hedgehog is totally blind they will often be out during the day and might be bumping in to things.

eye injury

TRAPPED IN A POND OR SWIMMING POOL

Although hedgehogs can swim, if become trapped in a pond or a swimming pool they will be exhausted and will eventually drown.  The hedgehog will also likely be extremely cold and be suffering from hypothermia.

Trapped in a pond

ENTANGLED IN NETTING

Hedgehogs often suffer injuries from netting left lying on the ground. Especially dangerous is badminton netting, football netting, and nylon or plastic veg netting netting. The netting gets entangled in the hedgehogs spines and in the worst scenarios cuts in to their skin or strangles them.

Hedgehog entangled in plastic netting

PROLAPSE

This is more prevalent in the younger hoglets but adults also suffer from a prolapse. The inner lining of their bowels protrudes from their anus. This can be cause by a few things but mainly from worms or from an injury such as being hit by a car. Treatable with stitches but can be life threatening for the hedgehog.

Hedgehog With Prolapse

HEAD INJURIES

Hedgehogs often suffer head injuries. These injuries can be cause by another animal biting them, being hit by a car, a strimmer, or even from being trapped in something.  These injuries often lead to blindness and if left untreated will become infected leading to death.

Hedgehog with a head injury

MOUTH AND JAW INJURIES

Injuries to the mouth or jaw of a hedgehog are often cause though another animal attacking the hedgehog but also from car accidents.  These injuries can be so bad that the hedgehog is unable to eat or drink.  Often they loose parts of their jaw or teeth.  If this type of injury means the hedgehog is unable to feed for itself even after an operation, then they have a slim chance to make it.

Hedgehog With Crushed Jaw

NOSE INJURIES

Nose injuries cause problems with breathing but most injuries are normally treatable. So long as the bone of the snout has not been damaged these injuries can often be treated with antibiotics, sometimes requiring surgery. If left untreated they can become life threatening as the hedgehog struggles to breath. These types of injuries can be caused by other animals attacking a hedgehog, a car, or from being trapped in something.

Hedgehog with a Nose Injury

HYPOTHERMIA

Hypothermia is more common in the colder seasons when a hedgehog has been drenches in water or been unable to find a hibernation nest. But, this can also be common (especially with with younger hedgehogs/hoglets) any time of the year. Often they will shiver but more often than not they will be frantically running around the place. If it becomes severe they start to lose mobility and become limp unable to curl and often breathing becomes shallow.

Hypothermia

INJURIES FROM CAR ACCIDENTS

Injuries hedgehogs sustain from car accidents tend to be the worst types of injuries. Often the hedgehog will die from the accident or pass away very shortly after.  These injuries are normally very obvious as large amounts of blood will be on and around the hedgehog. Sometimes it's not so obvious and they may have had enough strength to crawl away from the road, but they usually sustain internal injuries that soon cause death.

Hedgehog Car Accident

WOBBLING AND WEAK

Hedgehogs are very strong on their feet and to see one wobbling, swaying, or falling over is a bad sign. Often due to being extremely weak from dehydration or severely emaciated. You will likely see indented skin around their spines with an elongated oval rather than round body.

POISONED OR INFECTION

If a hedgehog has eaten poison such as slug pellets, or other pesticides they will become erratic and unable to stand. Often squirming around, disorientated and having a loss of balance. Hedgehogs may also behave like this due to an infection or trauma injury to the head.

FRACTURED BROKEN LEG

This is a common injury hedgehogs sustain mainly from getting their legs trapped in something or bitten another animal. Rear leg injuries are more common and can often be rehabilitated and released back in to the wild. However, front leg injuries are far worse as without having full function of both front legs they are unable to forage thus can not feed themselves. If infection has set in to these types of injuries (usually noticeable by a strong smell) then survival chances reduce dramatically.

TICKS

Ticks are usually present on a hedgehog but not always. It depends entirely on where the hedgehog nests and forages and if they are in contact with other hedgehogs with ticks on them. Most of the time a hedgehog will ensure the ticks having only a few on them. Once a tick has had its fill of blood sucked from the hedgehog it falls off them. However, when a hedgehog is infested with ticks it can be a real health issue especially if they are in hibernation as the ticks take away much needed nutrients from the hedgehog when draining them of blood. If a ticks head is left on a hedgehog through incorrect removal then they can also cause infections which is worse than having the tick on them.

 

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