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  • Writer's pictureHedgehog Sanctuary

Healthy Plump Hedgehog vs Underweight Dehydrated Hedgehog

I just wanted to show you what a healthy plump adult hedgehog looks like compared to what a very dehydrated and underweight hedgehog looks like.

When we receive phone calls about a hedgehog that has been found in a garden or on a road we ask what's wrong with the hedgehog. I know this is a hard question to answer if you don't see any obvious signs such as blood or an injury. But it is important to know as you may either not have to worry about the hedgehog at all or have a hedgehog which needs urgent attention!

The most common issues with hedgehogs that need help this time of year (winter months) is finding a hog which is under weight and dehydrated.

Left Hedgehog underweight and deydrated. Right hedgehog plump hydrated and healthy.
Left Hedgehog underweight and deydrated. Right hedgehog plump hydrated and healthy.

This photo shows two hedgehogs, both adults, one male and one female. The one on the left was called "Spiky" @ 440g who came from Hatfield in Hertfordshire. Spikey has had some of the spines on its head cut, we don't know how, but possibly by a strimmer. Spiky is very underweight and dehydrated.

Hedgehog underweight and deydrated.
Hedgehog underweight and deydrated.

Look at the shape of Spikey's body when held with the back on the floor and curled up. The body is oval shaped not round. The spines towards the anus meet to a point rather than a round half circle. The nose is dry and dull. This is a hedgehog in desperate need of help. The spines are also flatter rather than randomly pointing all over the place. This is another sign as the hedgehog does not have the strength to properly defend itself by making itself very spiky to handle.

Now look at the right hedgehog "Boo" @700g who came to us from a vets and was then fattened up by us. Boo is a very healthy hedgehog not dehydrated and nicely plump. This can be generally seen by the shape of the hedgehog when viewed on its back.

Hedgehog plump hydrated and healthy.
Hedgehog plump hydrated and healthy.

Boo is much rounder and not a long oval shaped. The spines are randomly sticking out all over the place and it is very capable of defending itself. The nose is wet and a deep dark colour. This is a healthy hedgehog and generally speaking if one like this is found, so long as there are no obvious injuries such as a limp, signs of blood, found during frost or very cold times of the year, and it curles up tight when handled or approached. This hedgehog would not need help.



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