Although hedgehogs are nocturnal and will hunt at night when their prey is most active, they can sometimes be seen out during the day. This can be for many different reasons, however, being out during full daylight is often a sign that the hedgehog is ill, injured or needs some help.


If the weather isn't cold and the hedgehog seems healthy and active, offer them some meat-based wet dog food and water, then leave them alone and monitor them from a distance.


If any of the following apply, this may be an indication the hedgehog needs some assistance.

  • The hedgehog is obviously sick, injured, or in immediate danger
  • The hedgehog doesn't seem interested in the food you've put out
  • The weather is cold - regular ground frost, snow, or temperatures are below freezing for several days
  • The hedgehog is staggering, wobbly, walking around in circles or lethargic
  • You can see a large number of flies, maggots or ticks on the hedgehog
  • You've seen the same hedgehog out during the day more than once
  • It's a young hoglet which weighs less than 300g (about the size of an apple)
  • The hedgehog does not roll up or try to roll up when you approach or touch it.


How to help

Wearing thick gloves or using a folded towel, gently pick up the hedgehog, and place them into a secure high-sided cardboard box lined with a towel. Hedgehogs from the same litter can be kept in the same box if it's big enough and they don't appear to be fighting.


When handling them, make sure you wear gloves, not only to protect you from their spikes, but also as they can carry diseases like ringworm or salmonella bacteria which can be passed to humans. If you're struggling to catch them, try placing a towel over the hedgehog, which may cause them to curl up. It's important not to handle the hedgehog any more than you need to, because contact with humans will be stressful for them.


Keep the hedgehog somewhere warm and quiet indoors, offer them a small amount of meat-based wet dog food and water whilst you contact your nearest vet. It's often faster to take an animal to vet yourself. If you're unable to transport the hedgehog, please contact the RSPCA NCC 'small, sick and injured wildlife' call line on 0300 123 8967.


Click here to view the National RSPCA's webpage on caring for hedgehogs.