Hedgehogs can sleep inside sheds, garages, bags of rubbish, etc. Please, check before clearing out these areas that there are no sleeping hedgehogs inside.
Dealing with damaged or destroyed nests
Twice a year, our phone rings off the hook with calls from people who have managed to uncover or destroy a hedgehog nest, while gardening. Some people just dive in without thinking; it helps, no end, if you can just have a careful look at the area you are about to work on, before you attack it.
It's illegal to remove, move or damage an occupied bird nest, but there is, currently, no similar protection for hedgehogs.
Hogs will nest in all sorts of places. Under sheds, decking, shrubs and bushes, compost heaps, inside sheds, greenhouses and garages, and even in long grass. The injuries we see from mowers, strimmers and garden forks are horrific, so, please, take care!
IN ALL CASES, IF IN DOUBT, CALL A RESCUE IMMEDIATELY FOR ADVICE. Please do not leave it for 24 hours, as by then the babies are likely to have died or be close to death.
Nests can be difficult to see. If you have just uncovered a nest, rather than completely destroyed it, cover it back up, quick. DO NOT TOUCH THE BABIES. If you get your scent on them, Mum may well kill or abandon them.
If Mum is still in the nest, she may well just freeze, so you can cover without worry. If Mum runs off, cover the babies with what you removed, then, back off and watch from a distance to make sure she comes back. Do not keep going to check by uncovering the nest. If the babies are distressed or hungry they will peep loudly, if this goes on for more than an hour, call us on 01372 360404 or your nearest rescue centre for advice.
Follow the advice for an uncovered nest. You may well have to touch the babies to put them back, so rub your gloves in soil, grass, anything to mask your scent with garden smells, first. Put as much of the nest back as you can, pop the babies in and cover them up, then, hope that Mum will return. Do not keep uncovering the nest to check. Wait as instructed, above, then, call us or your nearest rescue centre, if necessary.
Inconvenient nest - aka moving Mum and babies
Mum may kill newborns, if disturbed, and nests should not be moved. From birth to the hoglets leaving home is 6 weeks. If you can, please, wait and let them have a normal start in life; if not, please, call your local wildlife rescue. Do you really need to demolish that shed, right now? Many nests, uncovered, have larger hoglets in them and they will be gone in a couple of weeks.