What Things Hurt Hedgehogs The Most?
Updated: Sep 27, 2018
There are a few things that can hurt hedgehogs alot of which revolve around the actions of humans. Hedgehogs also suffer from many issues including Diarrhoea, Hypothermia, Mites, Flees, and Worms. Sometimes these can simply be irritations but other times they can be serious. They also suffer from many enviromental issues. I will list a few that Hornbeam Wood Hedgehog Sanctuary have come accross from hedgehogs we have received and others that we have found to be general issues that can hurt hedgehogs.
Poisons used to kill insects and slugs in peoples gardens which are put on fruit and veg. The hedgehogs also end up eating them which can also poison them or worse kill them. Just about any chemical which is bad for humans is also bad for hedgehogs.
Traps are created when there are holes such as drain covers that are missing or loose netting, hedgehogs fall in to these and are unable to escape. Netting used over fruit and veg to stop birds and insects, hedgehogs are spikey and those spines can get tangled up in fine netting which can trap them.
Cars & Roads:
Cars and trucks are a big problem to hedgehogs as they like to roam about and when faced with a road they don't look left and right. The need to get accross the roads which is a very dangerous task. This is probably the biggest thing which hurts hedgehogs the most.
Badgers are the only animals in the U.K. that can unroll and kill hedgehogs. They are the only real native predator of them. Badgers have very large claws on them which no hedgehog can defend against. Dogs will also try to have a nip at a hedgehog, in most cases the dog will come off worse but in the process a hedgehog can get puncture wounds. Dogs are curious of hedgehogs so if you do notice your dog showing interest please don't allow it to get near a hedgehog. They can kill hoglets.
This often falls in with traps as when a hedgehog is trapped they can starve. Gardens which are fortified with fencing that has no holes in it and very little to no foliage (mainly pathed or pebbled) means little food for the hedgehogs. Hedgehogs can also starve if they awake from hibernation early on hibernate too late over the winter months. There is alot less food for them over these months and they are especially hungry after awaking from hibernation as they would have used a large proportion of their fat/weight while hibernated.
Again this also falls in tandem with traps. Although hedgehogs can swim and also float (on their backs) in water they can get in trouble when they are unable to escape from the water logged area. A good example being a pond that has a sharp fall at the edges. If a hedgehog does go in to that type of pond it can't get out again. A bigger isssue is when flooding during the spring/summer months happens, this is the time hedgehogs mate and have little hoglets. If these hoglets are on ground level (which is most of the time) and if a flood hits their nest they can get swept away or drown as the mother will be unable to save them.
There are two main situations where a hedgehog could get in trouble though lack of water. Firstly when they wake up out of hibernation, they need water asap. This goes in tandem with traps, if they are unable to get water because they are trapped then they could die. This also goes for the summer months, if we are going though a prolonged hot spell, water will naturally be more scarce.
If a hedgehog has been injured with open wounds they have a chance of it getting infected. This could eventually poison their blood and kill them. Most wounds come from them escaping a trap such as a leg getting caught up in something like a fence or plastic such as the plastic rings to hold 4 beer cans together or even plastic bags.
Ticks latch on to hedgehogs and suck the blood out of them. They are very hard to remove and require special tools to do so properly so as not to cause an infection. These can be an issue when hedgehogs hibernate as they feed on the hedgehog which reduces their own nutrients needed to get though the winter months while hibernating.
Ringworm / Lungworm:
Both cause issues for hedgehogs. Ringworm dries up the skin especially where the skin is exposed such as the ears and bottom. If the hedgehog has Lungworm they develop a 'smokers cough' which makes it hard for them to breath. In both cases they may not eat and become weak.
If the hedgehog gets pneumonia they will wheez and cough. If they their body remains cold this can kill them. They will also become weak as it will makes it hard for them to eat.
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