RSPB
Print page

We've seen a hedgehog out during the day. Is there a problem?

Sent in by John Todd, North Yorkshire

Hedgehogs are nocturnal; they sleep during the day and forage for food at night. If you find a hedgehog out-and-about during the day and well before dusk, something may well be wrong and you should seek the advice of a wildlife hospital.

With their small eyes, hedgehogs have relatively poor eyesight and rely on their acute sense of smell to find food. They can travel 1 to 2 km each night in search of food and can move at speeds of 3 metres per minute.

They require 70 g of food per night and can eat a whole variety of foodstuffs, which can include earthworms, beetles, spiders and slugs, the latter making them a firm favourite with many gardeners.

Often the best sign of the presence of a hedgehog in gardens are their black tarry droppings. Outside of the breeding season, hedgehogs are quite solitary and you may be alerted to their presence at night by snuffles and snorts as they search for food.

Hedgehogs can live up to seven years old, but most live for no more than three years. An adult hedgehog is covered in approximately 6,000 spines!

If you would like to encourage hedgehogs into your garden, why not find out more in our advice pages.

Contact us

If you do have have a wildlife-related question you have not been able to find the answer to, please contact us. Click on the link below to go to our Contact Us page.

Contact us

Back to basics

In more depth