Disturbed a nest?

I've disturbed a hedgehog’s – what should I do?

Enjoying warm goats milk

Mothers with hoglets can be very unpredictable. Some will turn on their young and kill them; others will move them to a new nest. If the nest has only been slightly disturbed mum may continue to live in the nest with the hoglets or she may move into a new nest, returning at night to suckle the hoglets and then over a period of several days move the hoglets to the new nest. To check whether she is returning place a small twig or leaf over the nest entrance so she will have to brush it aside as she comes and goes. This will tell you the nest is being visited.

Do not keep disturbing the nest and do not search for the new one as this causes further disturbance and stress to the mother. Provide water and a dish of meat based dog or cat food nearby, so she can spend more time suckling her young rather than searching for food. If it does not appear mum is returning then the hoglets should be rescued.  This is also the case if they are heard squeaking or coming out of the nest.
If the garden has been "made over" and the hedgehog’s habitat destroyed than it may be that the nest and family will need to be relocated. If this is the case do catch the mother before you catch the hoglets. She is the more likely one to do a runner and not return. Place them together in a high-sided box otherwise mum may escape. If you are able to relocate nearby this is the best option, perhaps a neighbours garden. If not then give us a call and we will relocate to a suitable garden.

It is always best to try and keep the mother with the hoglets because she is able to care for them far better than we can. Removing them from her care reduces their chances of survival.

Adapted and reproduced with the kind permission of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society