We’ve got an orphaned hedgehog to take care of

Hetty the orphaned hedghog, who came to us for care!Here is an example of home education at its best. Last Friday I was coming up our drive when I saw a tiny hedgehog scuttling across the drive. It was 4pm and sunny. As hedgehogs are nocturnal I thought this a bit strange.

I found some chicken scraps from lunch and took them out. Well I have never seen such a tiny mouth move so fast without stopping! I’m sure this little creature ate half its body weight in chicken.

A plate of rain water later and it started to wander off.

It only got as far as the front door mat; plopped down on its side and started to go to sleep in the sun.

I did a quick google and realised we had a bit of an emergency on our hands.

Basically, a hedgehog ‘sunbathing’ in the daytime is not a good sign. It’s either orphaned, sick or had its nest disturbed.

I didn’t feel it was sick as it had a hearty appetite, no trouble shuffling around and no fleas or bad bits on its skin.

My sense was that its nest had been disturbed or it had been orphaned and was lost / confused.

I read up on the hedgehog preservation website that it needed a box with newspaper in and a hot water bottle to keep warm LOL! It was clearly looking for warmth, so this is what I did.

I then phoned a lady in the village who just happens to be a bit of a hedgehog Saint to ask her for advice.

I weighed our friend (Now called Hetty by the way) and found her to be just 5oz. Not good. By the end of the month, in order to survive, a hedgehog needs to be 1 – 1 1/2 lbs. So she was about a quarter of the weight she needed to survive 🙁

Now I’m not one to mess with nature, but she, I don’t know, seemed to come and find us. She clearly was so young because her spines were soft and she had no fear of us at all. She was totally trusting and allowed us to pick her up and coo over her.

So we bought her in, introduced her to the cat, they shared some chicken and now she’s curled up in her box. We’ve been advised to feed her up and then see if she shows any interest in going back outside. And if she doesn’t, well, I guess we have ourselves an unusual pet!

It’s a steep learning curve; finding out what they like to eat, how to take care of them and of course it’s excellent for Little Miss green as we mustn’t tame this hedgehog or treat it too well otherwise we will reduce its chances for survival.

It’s such an honour when one of Mother Nature’s creatures comes to us for help. 🙂

Have you ever been ‘adopted’ by an animal?


  1. Fr. Peter on October 7, 2008 at 11:31 am

    Wow, fantastic, and what a sensible animal to choose the Green household. I do so hope that all does well for you newly extended family!

  2. Quail By Mail on October 9, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    I’d love to have a hedgehog in my backyard to look after all these slugs and snails! I didn’t see my first live hedgehog until I’d been living in England 10 years! Lucky you!

  3. Mrs Green on October 26, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    Thank you both – If you read Hetty’s blog, you’ll see that she only survived a week with us 🙁
    And I learned that slugs are really bad for them, so they shouldn’t eat them anyway!