Holderness Hedgehog Hospital

UK Registered Charity Number 1178929

Our mission - Rescue, rehabilitate and release sick, injured or orphaned hedgehogs
in Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire


What to do if you find a hedgehog
Our adoption pack
How you can help visiting hedgehogs
How to become a volunteer
Upcoming Events
Contact us
Photo gallery



The UK has seen a rapid decline in hedgehogs with numbers falling by about half since the turn of the century which means hedgehog numbers are likely to stand at under a million.

In 2020 Hedgehogs were included on the Red List for British Mammals which means they are now classified as vulnerable to extinction.

Holderness Hedgehog Hospital (HHH) was set up in 2016 to help address a shortage of local specialist rescues in the area, as well as to help educate people on the species.

Our aims are to educate the public and to rescue, rehabilitate and release as many hedgehogs as possible.

Since 2016 we have grown and grown and after a lot of hard work we became a charity in the summer of 2018.

We now have a number of satellite rescues within the East Riding including: Preston, Hutton Cranswick, Walkington, Burton Pidsea and Skeffling.

Everyone involved with HHH is a volunteer, without their continued support and commitment we would not be able to continue.

We have 9 assessors who triage and administer lifesaving first aid to hedgehogs that come into the rescue, plus a large group of amazing volunteers.

Our educational talks are very important to us. We have spoken to groups such as schools, scouts, WI and wildlife groups.

These allow us to engage with the public and get them involved in trying to save our prickly friends.

If you would like us to visit your organisation, then please contact us.

Consistent fundraising is important to ensure every hedgehog which comes through the rescue has the best opportunity in life.

HHH is self-funded and we usually host events such as craft fairs, take part in car boots, have regular raffles, have food donation bins in supermarkets  and ask local business for support.

What to do if you find a hedgehog that needs help.

Hedgehogs are hardy little things that will keep going no matter how ill they are or until they collapse.

We receive lots of calls about hedgehogs that are out during the day, have injuries or for advice if a nest is disturbed, when or if to intervene and what to do.

Hedgehogs are nocturnal so they should not be out during the day.

There are a few exceptions such as:

A female with young, she may be moving nest sites, having a break or looking for food.

If this is the case she will be moving with purpose or have young in her mouth.

Some also wake at dusk to look for food or are still about at first light. Young hedgehogs may leave the nest for a short time before returning , again this isn't anything to worry about as long as the hedgehog looks and is acting normally.

It can be very confusing but that's why we are here.

If you are unsure you can call us or your nearest rescue and we will advise you on what to do. (Click here)

If you do see a hedgehog out during the day or you have concerns, remember hedgehogs do not sunbathe and they shouldn't wobble when walking.

If it's trapped, a baby or it has an injury it will need help.

Not all hedgehog issues are visible, they can have an overburden of internal parasites and have a cough or what seems like cold.

If a hedgehog does need rescuing you will need a high sided box as they are very good at climbing and escaping.

Something to cover it such as a towel or fleece and somewhere it can go away from sunlight and flies.

There are diseases that can pass from hedghogs to us and precautions must be taken so gloves, towel or similar should be used to pick the hedgehog up.

Please do not wait to make the call or try to look after them yourself.

Adoption Pack

We're very excited as we now have our own adoption pack available.

Click on image for a larger view

By adopting a hedgehog as a gift or for yourself you will be helping us rescue even more hedgehogs.

Your adoption will last 12 months and for a one off payment of 25 you will receive your adoption card telling you all about your hedgehog's story.

You will also be sent via e-mail, quarterly news letters with updates on their story and helpful tips, advice and other hedgehog stories.

If you would like to adopt a hedgehog please contact us via our e-mail: holdernesshedgehogadoption@gmail.com

How to help

What you can do to help and encourage hedgehogs into your garden:

Having hedgehogs visit you is amazing, you get to watch them and you may even be lucky enough for them to make your garden their home.

You may already have visitors but you've just not seen them, look out for signs such as hedgehog poo.

Firstly they need to be able to get access into your garden. Create hedgehog highways between gardens, these need to be the size of a CD case and be made in fences, gates or even walls but have a look around your garden, you may already have them in place, check the gaps under gates etc. Highways allow hedgehogs more opportunity to find food, mates and nesting sites.

Make your garden a sanctuary

Leave a small area of your garden to nature, let the grass grow long and sow wildflower seeds. This provides good coverage for hedgehogs to hide and to nest in plus food from the visiting insects.

Make your garden a safe place by covering drain holes, ensuring there is an escape ramp from ponds and tidy up rubbish that could trap or entangle hedgehogs.

Provide a nesting box: Nesting boxes offer hedgehogs a home to rest during the day, to rear their young and to hibernate during winter. These can be shop bought or home made using what you already have such as: bricks and a paver, a gap under a shed or a wood pile. Make sure it is out of direct sunlight and prevailing winds and place them under shrubs or trees for protection from the weather.

Provide food and water daily

Hedgehogs often struggle to find enough food and water on their nightly forage so providing it daily makes their life a little easier. It’s also a great way to encourage hedgehog visitors into your garden.

Hedgehogs like puppy, dog, kitten and cat tinned food, preferably not fish flavour as they are not keen and often leave it. They prefer jelly and paste tinned food as the gravy type food can give them an upset tummy.

They also like cat or kitten biscuits (not dog biscuits as they can often be too big)

Using a  feeding station keeps the food out of the weather and it can also stop other animals such as cats from getting to the food. These can be home made using what you already have: such as a plastic tub, wood or just place under a table or chair.

Do not leave out milk, hedgehogs are lactose intolerant and giving them milk will kill them.

Mealworms are also very harmful: they cause metabolic bone disease and robs the bones of calcium and makes them weak. It causes suffering and will ultimately result in the hedgehog’s death.

Other dangerous foods include sunflower hearts and peanuts.

Bread has no nutritional value at all.

Garden safety

Always check before using a strimmer or lawn mower in long grass or weeds, also check compost heaps before forking over. It only takes a few minutes and it could save a hedgehogs life.

Check before carrying out any major garden work such as removing sheds, decking and landscaping gardens. Hedgehogs don’t always nest in the most appropriate places and love to hide and nest under many things for shelter.

Ensure fruit netting and anything else that could trap a hedgehog is kept up off the ground and stored safely when not in use.

Do not use pesticides, these can kill hedgehogs and other wildlife that eat the poisoned bugs. Slug pellets are also dangerous as the hedgehog can eat the poisoned slug

If you have any questions please ask, we are happy to help and advise you.

How to volunteer

HHH is run by volunteers and we wouldn’t be able to continue without them.

If you’d like to be involved, becoming a volunteer is easy:  You can be involved as little or as much as you like and all you need to do is request to join our Facebook volunteers page (link here). Please remember  to answer the questions and complete the form as it will affect your request if these are left blank.

There are so many ways you can help as a volunteer:

Help with emergency rescues

Become a foster carer (all year or over winter)

Help with transport to the assessors or vets

Fund raise

Help at events


Car boots

Cake making

Educational talks

Collection points for food donation bins

Garden checks / advice

Plus so much more.


Spring is in the air and with hedgehogs awake from hibernation now is the ideal time for a bit of a Spring clean of your hedgehog houses and shelters.

It easy to do and shouldn’t take too long. It’s best to do on a nice sunny day and before the hoglet season starts.

Click image for larger view


Soon female hedgehogs will be looking for nesting sites to have and raise their young. A nice clean house will be ideal for this.

Filling the house with clean dry bedding with encourage a hedgehog to use it, you can also leave extra bedding such as leaves nearby so they can add to it. You’d be surprised how much they can cram into the space.

During lock down last year lots of people took the opportunity to tidy or revamp their gardens, as such we had more disturbed nests than ever before.

Hedgehogs think they are safe and have the perfect spot to raise their young but it can turn out not to be the case.

If you are thinking of clearing an area, removing a shed, decking or lighting a bonfire please be careful and check that there isn’t a nest there, they can be very well camouflaged and not easily seen.

If you do disturb a nest DO NOT PANIC, re-cover ASAP, leave alone, go back inside and ring your nearest rescue as they can talk you through what to do.


Hoglet season has already started in some parts of the country and unfortunately we will soon start to get calls about disturbed and abandoned nests.

We often take in hoglets from new born to a few weeks old and Incubators play a huge part in saving the little hogs lives.

Each year we take in more hoglets and with this years season about to start we'd like to purchase a larger incubator to help us help more hoglets.

We'd like to riase 700 so if you can help us achieve please donate and share on social media.

Thank you

Unfortunately Covid-19 has hit us hard: all fund raising events have been cancelled and we, like many other animal rescues are not eligible for support from the government.

During 2020 we rescued almost 600 hedgehogs, 77 of which are staying with us over winter and will be released in spring this year.

That’s an increase of almost 400 hedgehogs compared to 2019.


Hedgehog awareness week 2021!

We'll be sharing lots of information this week so we hope you'll learn something new and please feel free to share interesting facts about hedgehogs:

- There are 17 species of hedgehogs.

- Hedgehogs are nocturnal, foraging by night and sleeping through the day.

- Breeding season for European hedgehogs is between April and November, later babies know has autumn juveniles struggle to survive with most not making it through the winter.

- Litters are of upto 7 babies normally but occasionally more.

- Babies are called hoglets and are born with soft pink spines that harden within hours of birth.

- Babies leave the nest for the first time between 3/4 weeks and follow mum around at night learning to forage for food.

- The life span of a hedgehog is on average 2-4 years but they can live longer.

- They have 5-7 thousand spines that are up to 1 inch long that are controlled by a huge muscle along the hedgehog back.

- Hedgehogs have a rarely seen tail of 1-6cm long.

- Hedgehogs rarely have fleas but when they do they are hedgehog specific fleas so only live on hedgehogs.

- Hedgehogs are very good swimmers but can occasionally drown in garden ponds that don’t have easily found escape routes.

- A group of hedgehogs is called an array.

- European hedgehogs hibernate usually between November and March but don’t hibernate solidly, they wake occasionally for a snack. Some smaller hedgehogs particularly autumn juveniles don’t have the body mass to hibernate so struggle on searching for food over the winter.

- Hedgehogs are 1 of only 3 British mammals that hibernate, the other 2 been bats and dormice.

- In the Middle Ages hedgehogs where known has urchins and even have a mention in one of William Shakespeare’s plays.

- Hedgehogs self anoint by rubbing frothy saliva on themselves, they do this when stimulated by a strong taste or smell.

- Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant so they must never be given milk.

- They curl into a tight ball when they feel in danger, this protects the vulnerable area underneath that hasn't any spines.

- Hedgehogs can walk upto 2 miles a night to forage for food or look for a mate.

- They are called a gardens friend. This is because they eat bugs and caterpillars which can be a  problem when growing fruit and vegetables.

- Hedgehogs rely on their nose for hunting and foraging for food as their eye sight isn't very good.

-Hedgehogs have a very varied diet and eat many things including insects, snails, frogs and toads, snakes and bird eggs,

-They construct a nest called a hibernaculum. During hibernation, the body temperate drops and they slow their breathing rate. Many hedgehogs can lose up to a third or more of their body weight during hibernation and must find food and water quickly when they wake.

-Hedgehogs have very poor eyesight but have an excellent sense of smell and hearing. They use both to sniff out and hear their prey.

-The most common domesticated hedgehog is the African pygmy hedgehog, which a hybrid of the white-bellied hedgehog or four-toed hedgehog and the North African hedgehog.

- Hedgehogs are solitary animals.

-In the UK wild hedgehogs are considered an endangered species and it is illegal to keep one as a pet.

-Hedgehogs are a fairly vocal animal and can communicate through a combination of grunts, snuffles and/or squeals, depending on species.

- Hedgehogs are actually quite fast and can travel up to 3km per hour.

Making your garden hedgehog friendly.

There are many dangers hedgehogs face in their little lives such has roads , predators and illnesses but they can also get into big trouble in our very own gardens.

Hedgehogs appear to be able to get themselves into all kinds of accidents , if there’s a danger a hedgehog seems to find it.

In our gardens we need to “think hedgehog” and look around with hedgehogs in mind and try to minimise any dangers present.

These dangers can include :

-holes and open drains to fall into........check around and cover anything open.

-ponds with sheer sides that are difficult to climb out of........a few bricks or stones to help create areas to climb out easily but bare in mind a hedgehog won’t know where this is if you have a large pond so a few areas like this will be needed.

-pesticides and chemicals we use......with hedgehogs around there is little need for this or use more natural methods. It’s not just hedgehogs that are affected by pesticides. Birds and other wildlife are poisoned regularly too and die a very painful slow death.

-strimmers and lawn mowers.......encounters with these can cause massive injuries and are all too often fatal. A quick check before any work in long grass or weeds is a sure way to save lives.

-some dogs dislike hedgehogs and attacks can be fatal......if you have dogs that really don’t like hedgehogs it’s best not to encourage hedgehogs in , but if they are around and you want them to stay unharmed managing your dog and supervising it in your garden after dark works very well. Some dogs do get on well with hedgehogs and pose not threat to them.

-gardening with tools such has forks and spades.......hedgehogs love hanging around and in compost heaps , possibly due to the amount of insect they attract or the warmth the give off. When working either on compost heaps or any overgrown area with tools a quick check and then working carefully could spare a hedgehog been skewered with a fork.

-rubbish or plastic bags/tarpaulin.......
hedgehogs are very good at getting into things they can’t get back out of again. A tidy garden is a safer garden.

-netting , either garden or children’s toys......hedgehogs are very good at getting caught up in netting and can sometimes be there days before been discovered. Netting also gets caught around little legs and can easily cause enough damage for a leg to be lost if they are found in time to save their life.

- bonfires are ideal nest sites,  move and check the bonfire before lighting or only light one side. This will allow any sleeping hedgehogs time to escape.

Most of the dangers in our gardens can be minimised with a little thought about our prickly visitors.

You can also make your garden a paradise for hedgehogs:

- leave areas to grow wild, this will encourage bugs and allow hedgehogs to forage and hide.

- leave leaves that have fallen, hedgehogs will use these for nesting material and for foraging.

- make a hedgehog highway, this will allow access into your garden. A gap 13cm x 13cm will be big enough. These can be made in fences or a gap may already be here under gates.

A safe garden is paradise to a hedgehog.

Contact us




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Holderness Hedgehog Hospital 
Sort code : 30-97-77
a/c no. 22569068

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Last updated 04/05/2021 09:05

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