Captive or Pet Hedgehogs

We are noticing an increasing trend for people wanting to keep captive or pet hedgehogs. This is not something we recommend or approve of. We totally condemn and oppose the idea of confining a wild hedgehog

Hedgehogs are wild animals and do not take well to being kept in captivity. A normal hedgehog will travel about 2 or 3 kilometres every night, looking for food or exploring. To keep a healthy hedgehog confined in a small space or garden is cruel and many just give up and die, they need the stimulation of the hunt and feel the need to explore in order to prosper.

One of the main reasons people tell us they want a hedgehog is to keep down the slugs and snails. This is not a good reason to confine a hedgehog. If you have a suitable garden with good access for hedgehogs and provide the right sort of facilities as shown on the garden page, a hedgehog or several hedgehogs will find you.

Slugs & Snails

Gardeners wrongly think having hedgehogs in the garden is all they need to keep the slug and snail population down. Please read this PAGE which explains why this is so wrong

  • Hedgehogs mainly eat beetles and caterpillars, not slugs and snails

  • The idea that they only eat slugs and snails is very wrong. Only approximately 5% of their diet naturally will be slugs or snails.

  • They will only eat slugs in any quantity when they are starving and no other food is available.

  • A hedgehog that is forced to rely only on slugs and snails will not survive long.  Offering a hedgehog additional food is the best for the hedgehog

Another reason is that many people see a cuddly image on a card or healthy hedgehog picture on a website. Unfortunately it’s not like this in real life, a lot of hedgehogs come to us in very poor condition and it takes months of work and treatment to get them looking beautiful.

The only reason to keep a hedgehog confined to a secure enclosed garden is if it is unable to fend for itself, for example a blind or disabled hedgehog.

Keeping a disabled hedgehog in a confined garden is a big responsibility, they need feeding every day, fresh water every day. A house provided for it, that needs cleaning frequently. They become your pet and need to be treated if ill or injured, taken to the vet for regular checks and de-wormed frequently.

A hedgehog in a confined garden will clear it totally of edible insects etc in a matter of days, so plenty of fresh food is needed. You can’t just go on holiday or away for a few days and come back and expect to find the hedgehog healthy and waiting for you. You must make arrangements for someone to come in daily and feed it and make sure it has water. Otherwise it is quite likely to have starved to death or died of dehydration (thirst) while you are away.

Most hedgehogs come in looking in poor conditions like these 4 pictures below

Sick hedgehog Sick hedgehog
Sick hedgehog Sick hedgehog

Images of cuddly looking fit hedgehogs like these below only come after months of hard work and lots of treatment

Healthy hedgehog
Healthy hedgehog Healthy hedgehog

Leave a Reply

16 Comments on "Captive or Pet Hedgehogs"

Notify of
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted

Hi. I have one hedgehog from someone who moved out of the country but I am feeling he is not having what he deserves. He stayed in a small place, and not in the nature. I am feeding him properly, but I don’t think it’s good for him be in an apartment. Do you think should I put him back to the wild?


Can I keep my hedgehog until it’s grown up its just a baby


I have a hedgehog in my care that has had antibiotic treatment and been wormed by the vet, she now’s weigh 430grams, can she now be released.


Hi I have come home to find a hedgehog on my path at 3pm day time, I have given water and some chicken. It seems overly tame not at all scared of humans or human contact. How can I tell if this hedgehog is wild or if it’s a list pet? And we have made a house for it in the garden but what substrate should I put in the house for warmth please can you help?

Thank you so much

I’m devastated. On my way to work this morning I saw a hedgehog trying to cross the road. I witnessed 6 cars drive over the top of him and one of them clipped him and broke his leg 😞 He still managed to cross the road and by this time I had pulled over and ran out of my car up to where he had crossed. Another lady had pulled over too and I carefully picked him up in a blanket I had and the lady said she will take him to the vet (as I was in a rush… Read more »

I live in NZ and sick hedgehogs come into our back yard to eat the cat food