CONCERNS have been raised for hedgehogs as the UK is plunged into a cold spell - with the number of hedgehogs admitted to RSPCA centres already surpassing last year's figure.

By mid-November this year, 1,896 hedgehogs had been taken into care by the animal charity’s four wildlife centres - compared to 1,883 admissions for the whole of 2020.

Every year, the RSPCA receives thousands of calls from the general public reporting their concerns about a hedgehog. In 2020, the animal charity received more 6,202 calls from people worried about sick, underweight, injured or orphaned hedgehogs.

According to the charity, hedgehogs born late in the year often do not have enough fat reserves to survive the long winter hibernation without some help.

RSPCA scientific officer Evie Button said: “A cold snap can be lethal for underweight hedgehogs if it means they go into hibernation before they’ve put enough weight on.

“If you see a young hoglet that’s only about the size of an apple - around 300g - they really need to be rescued and taken to a rehabilitation facility, as they won’t have enough fat reserves to last the winter.

“We fear this may turn out to be a bad year for hedgehogs. We urge people to visit our website for advice on what to do if they see a sick or injured hog, particularly if it’s out and about during the day.”

The RSPCA recommends that:

  • If the hoglet weighs less than 300g (about the size of an apple), or is sick or injured, then it will need specialist care to survive the winter. Learn online how to capture and transport the animal to a rehabilitator.
  • If a juvenile hedgehog weighs between 300 and 500g after mid-October, they probably won't have enough weight to see them through the winter. The RSPCA recommends following the BHPS advice for autumn juvenile hedgehogs.
  • If the hedgehog weighs over 500g and is only seen out at night, it should be healthy enough to hibernate as normal in the wild. They'll be foraging for food overnight so if you can, keep providing food in the garden. Hedgehogs will often wake up from hibernation and forage for food at least once during winter.

RSPCA rescue teams will be out in all weathers this winter, rescuing animals from abuse, neglect and suffering. To join the Christmas Rescue and help rescuers be there for the animals in need, visit