If you’ve taken a look at our previous page on why it may be necessary to rescue and adopt a wild hedgehog, in the right circumstances, and have sought advice on whether or not this is the best practice, let’s look at some tips on how to look after wild hedgehogs. This is not necessarily a case of domesticating a wild hedgehog, but rather for you to adapt your ways to look after the animal so they change their habits as little as possible.
Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, so try not to interrupt this habit. Keep them warm, covered, and away from noise and disturbance during the day, allowing them to slowly wake up as the night draws in. Give them access to food and water, and maybe a little play time when they are awake before you go to bed.
In the wild, hedgehogs prey upon insects and eat a whole host of food. As pets, you can find plenty of insects as food for sale in pet shops, but give them a balanced diet with fruit and vegetables – just like humans! – so that they don’t exclusively eat insects, which they can overindulge in if given the chance. Hedgehogs can be very greedy, so check with your vet or local wildlife expert about how much food you should be feeding them per day, based on their age and weight. An overweight or overfull hedgehog loses a lot of energy and can even lose the ability to roll into a ball!
In the beginning, they will be very protective, rolling up every chance they get. But they can get used to humans very quickly and become the sociable, playful pet you’re looking forward to. Giving them baths, love and attention, and letting them run around can be very rewarding activities.