Hedgehogs in winter: when do they need help?

Her button eyes are simply adorable - no wonder that many people want to protect hedgehogs in winter. But experts warn: Healthy wild animals can get through the cold season without outside help. How you can tell whether the spiny animal needs your support can be read here. This cute hedgehog doesn't seem to need any help - Shutterstock / Africa Studio

When the days get shorter and the nights get colder, hedgehogs come out of hiding in winter and cheerfully cheer through the leaves - provided they are healthy. Because now they want to arm themselves for the cold season and collect a lot of winter bacon. However, if a hedgehog has been lying uncovered in the same place for days or looks lean, it might need your help.

As a rule, hedgehogs do not need help in winter

According to the Animal Welfare Act, it is forbidden to take animals of the specially protected species to which the hedgehog belongs from nature. In winter, the cute prickly animals are in hibernation - for a whole six months. In time, they hide in a hiding place and only leave it when spring has come. A walking hedgehog in winter is definitely a reason to listen. It could belong to the category of needy hedgehogs that need care - and should be picked up by you.

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How to recognize hedgehogs in need of help

The first group of hedgehogs in need are sick hedgehogs. You can tell by the fact that they walk around, stagger or even lie around unprotected during the day. The alarm bells should ring here. Sick hedgehogs are often apathetic, cool and do not adopt the typically rolled-up protective posture. Her otherwise active button eyes are sunken and slit-shaped. The same applies to injured hedgehogs. For example, if one of the legs is injured, they will make poor progress and find it difficult to find food. Immediate action is also necessary if you discover hedgehogs trapped in shafts or recesses.

The third group of hedgehogs in winter who need help are orphaned hedgehog infants. You can usually find them in early winter and recognize them when you are outside their nest during the day or lying around with your eyes and ears closed. In cases like these, however, simple love of animals does not help. Collect the animal and take it to a veterinarian or a hedgehog station as soon as possible - here the hedgehog can be treated professionally.