When to release a hedgehog?
How and where best to release a hedgehog?
Its is best to release at dusk when we know there will be a period of good weather ahead for a few days and the temperature is above 5C so they will be able to find plenty of insects to feed on.
To watch a video of a release click the button below.
The keeping of a healthy hedgehog or any wild animal is prohibited by law in Italy and many European countries.
If an animal is temporarily entrusted to us to be kept in temporary protection (for convalescence, or if underweight for survival over winter, or an orphan) then the release back to nature must be as soon as possible.
It is always better for them to be back in the wild.
Geography, climate, time of year and weight of the hedgehog can determine when to release.
The differences are enormous if you are in the mountains or on the plains, in the north or south of a country.
In periods of drought, (with lack of insects) or when it's too cold, hold on for release.
Recent studies have shown, however, soft release in gardens with the possibility of good shelter, dens, food and water available, hedgehogs manage to survive well.
If the hedgehog in temporary protection, has been with us for a long period, a correct adaptation and soft release are mandatory before a full release.
During this period you can check if the day/night phase is correct. The hedgehog is a nocturnal animal.
Check it is not active in daylight as this is not normal.
By spreading insects (even frozen) on the ground and check its feeding behaviour.
You can also see if it furnishes its den as normal with leaves etc.
Without a den, in nature, a hedgehog is easy prey.
When these characteristics are in place, and the weight is adequate, our hedgehog we can free. In spring and summer, a 300-gram hedgehog survives well in nature.
In late autumn and in the middle of winter, the weight has to be evaluated more carefully.