Examine your hedgehog with the following points in mind, in order to assess its state of health:
• Are its eyes bright?
• Is it cold?
• Is it dehydrated? (Gently lift a section of spines and let go. If the skin does not spring back into place, the animal urgently needs fluids).
• Is it alert and interested in sniffing its surroundings?
• Is it reluctant to move, or overly restless?
• Is it panting, or having difficulty breathing?
• Are all its limbs present, with five toes on each foot?
• Can it walk properly?
• Can you see any wounds, skin lesions or parasites?
• Is it flyblown? (If eggs are present, it will look as if it has been sprinkled with sawdust. If these have hatched there will be maggots.)
• Does it have spines missing, or bald patches?
• Does it have anything wrapped round its body (netting, plastic, hair bands etc.)?
• How much does it weigh?
An obviously sick or injured animal will need immediate veterinary attention. If you do not wish to get further involved at this stage, contact your nearest hedgehog carer.