Can I keep a hedgehog?
No. Hedgehogs are wild animals, they are protected by
law in most European countries.
Obviously, if you see one you believe to be sick or in danger please make an immediate rescue following the guidance on this site.
Once they are back to health and rehabilitated they should always be re-released into the wild as soon as possible.
If hedgehogs are found in a serious condition (babies, injured, collapsed, etc.), the safe and speedy delivery to expert hands can save tiny lives.
When there is an emergency, any wasting time taking unnecessary photos or selfies and then sharing on social media can cost lives.
The detention of a healthy hedgehog is not only a crime in most European countries but also brings suffering to a wild animal, that should be living free in nature.
There are many studies on the suffering and stress of illegally held healthy hedgehogs.
Shortened life expectancy.
Impatience to imprisonment.
These are just some of the devastating effects caused by detention.
Hedgehogs need an extended territory to live in freedom.
Hedgehogs and UK law.
With regards to the legislation covering the killing and/or taking of wild animals in the UK and any subsequent sale of such animals, this is governed by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
For species listed on Schedule 5 of this Act, it is illegal to intentionally kill, injure or take them from the wild, and would also be illegal to sell, offer or expose for sale, have in possession or transport for the purpose of sale any wild animal, or part derived from, included on this Schedule. Equally, to publish any advertisement likely to be understood as conveying that they buy or sell, or intend to buy or sell, any of those things.
However, unfortunately, European hedgehogs are not a species included on Schedule 5 and therefore their killing and/or taking from the wild, and subsequent sale is not prohibited under this legislation.
They are however included on Schedule 6 of this Act meaning certain methods of killing are an offence. Furthermore, under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 it would be an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to any animal that is under the control of man, whether that control is on a permanent or temporary basis.
However, if you do think an offence has been committed with regards to hedgehogs, please contact the 24-hour cruelty line on +44 (0) 300 1234 999.