How to tell if a hedgehog is underweight or needs help

 

Another frequently asked question is ” How do I know if a hedgehog is thin and needing help or plump and healthy? ”

This hedgehog is dangerously thin and looks like a sausage, with flat spines, looks lifeless and needs urgent treatment

a very thin weak hedgehog

a very thin weak hedgehog

When turned onto its back, a healthy hedgehog of the correct weight for its size should be almost round. The distance between head & tail & the side to side distance should be nearly equal.

If the head to tail is much longer than side to side, then it is very underweight & thin.

Another sign of problems is if when lying on its back, the tail end tapers to a V or is much thinner than the head end.

 

Healthy Hedgehog

This shows a healthy hedgehog of the correct weight

This shows a healthy hedgehog of the correct weightthe distance between head & tail (A) is approximately the same as the side to side distance (B )He looks plump and round like a ball

 

Underweight hedgehog

This is a seriously underweight hedgehog needing urgent help and taking into care immediately

This is a seriously underweight hedgehog needing urgent help and taking into care immediatelyA is much longer than BAlso note the way the head is much fatter than the tail

In real life when the spines don’t bristle up, the difference is even more pronounced and easier to see

 

From about middle of October until the spring) ANY hedgehog weighing less than about 600g should be picked up and help and advice got from a local rescue centre or hedgehog carer. This applies even if it looks round and healthy like the first picture

This information has been based on the research carried out by Dr Toni Bunnell