Hedgehogs can have litters of young as late as September and unless the young can reach a weight of 450 grams, if found between October and February they are unlikely to survive the winter as they are too small to hibernate. Little ones, roughly the size of a tennis ball or slightly bigger are especially vulnerable.
The only exception to this is if a hedgehog, which is heavier than 450grams, is out during the day and appears ill or injured. In this case, it should be brought in regardless of weight.
When young hedgehogs are raised at wildlife rescue centres, they are not released until they weigh 500grams if they are being released in autumn or 600grams if the release is in late autumn or early winter as this allows for weight loss after they are released.
When the weather turns cold these little hogs can quickly die of hypothermia so in order to help them you will need to take action straight away.
Here is a suggestion of what to do:
Put the hedgehog in a high-sided box or small animal carrier.
Give it a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel – if you don’t have a hot water bottle, then a plastic milk bottle or glass bottle filled with warm water is fine; if you don’t have an old towel, newspaper will do. Direct heat is essential to stop hypothermia – a warm room is not enough. Make sure there is space for it to get off the bottle if needed. Also, keep the bottle warm – don’t let it get cold.
Offer a small amount of meaty (not fishy) cat or dog food and fresh water. DO NOT offer bread or milk as these are unsuitable for hedgehogs.
Keep the box somewhere warm and quiet – NOT a garage or cold shed
Ring for help or take the hog to the nearest animal sanctuary for help. Vets are often not able to offer the care that little hog’s need, so an animal sanctuary is much better.
If the hog has breathing difficulties or has many ticks and/or fly eggs or wobbles when it walks, it is very sick indeed - tell the sanctuary this. If you cannot find a local sanctuary then you can call the RSPCA for advice on 0300 1234 999