How to get rid of Hedgehogs

hedgehog erinaceinae how to get rid of

Hedgehogs are spiny mammals, part of the family Erinaceidae. They are found trough parts of Europe, Africa and Asia, and have been introduced in New Zealand as well. There are no living species native to the Americas, as the ones that existed once, are now extinct. Although generally considered a helpful species in the garden, hedgehogs can become pests, especially in the areas where they have been introduced by mistake and they lack predators.
Areas such as New Zealand and the islands of Scotland have become places where hedgehogs are considered pests, due to the damage they can cause to the native fauna. They have caused immense damage to different species of insects, snails, lizards and ground-nesting birds, particularly shore birds. Their diet includes the eggs and chicks of ground-nesting birds, so they may have already contributed to the decline and extinction of up to fifteen bird species and are a threat to those that remain.
They also suffer from several diseases common to humans, such as cancer, fatty liver disease and cardiovascular disease, but they can also transmit a characteristic fungal skin infection to human handlers as well as other hedgehogs.

hedgehog erinaceinae how to get rid of

Signs of infestation

As they are nocturnal creatures, it will be quite difficult to spot a hedgehog in action. There are, however, ways in which to establish if you are dealing with an infestation or not. The signs left by a hedgehog can be quite subtle, but once you know what to look for, it will be quite easy to establish the severity of the problem.
The most obvious sign of their presence are the footprints they leave behind. This is easier to observe when the ground is soft. You can easily set a sand or mud trap in the evening, if you suspect hedgehogs are roaming around, and in the morning, you will see if it is the case or not. Their foot prints are around 2.5cm long and 2.8cm wide, with the front toes quite widely spread, and the back toes quite long and slender.
Faeces are again a good indicator of their presence. It is normally quite dark in colour and 1.5-5cm long and 1cm in diameter. They are usually dryish, and usually contain tightly packed recognisable fragments of invertebrate exoskeletons (for example beetle carapaces, head or body segments).
As they can quickly roam around your garden, hedgehogs can easily leave tracks in the grass, or small tunnels. These can be easily seen especially if you have undergrowth of shrubs or other plants in the garden. You can also hear them at night, as hedgehogs are not the most silent mammal at all. They make some specific sniffing and huffing noises as they are foraging around for food. They also get noisier in the spring, when the fight for females begins, as the mating season starts.
As hedgehogs hibernate in winter, you won’t have to bother with their presence then, as they will mostly hide under tree roots or deep dry litter, in rabbit burrows or other dry refuges. The density of hedgehogs is variable depending on terrain, habitat, and food availability, as they prefer coastal and lowland pastoral areas, and they become rarer with increasing altitude.

Getting rid of hedgehogs

Once you have established the fact that your yard or garden is indeed affected by these mammals, you will need to find the best way of dealing with them. Depending on the region you live in, hedgehogs might be considered useful animals or pests. The ones that have been introduced in new areas and lack predators are the ones that are mostly seen as pests, as they impact the native flora and fauna with their diet. The hedgehogs found in regular habitats, which are mostly spread throughout Europe, Asia and Africa, can be seen as important to the development of a garden, as they are the predators for other pests. Most people try to encourage the presence of hedgehogs on their property, in an attempt to get rid of insects such as snails and slugs. The hedgehog’s diet consisted mainly of invertebrate insects, but in areas where they have had to adapt, hedgehogs have been found to also consume lizards, eggs and chicks of ground-nesting birds.

In order to make your property less appealing to them, you can remove their food source, which most likely consists of snails and slugs. Make sure that if you apply treatments in order to remove these insects from your garden, you use natural methods instead of chemical ones. By applying insecticides or poisons to remove the molluscs, you can also harm the hedgehogs, if they manage to come in contact with the dead insect.
With the lack of a natural predator, hedgehogs can easily increase in numbers and become a significant predator themselves of threatened native species, and they can lower the biodiversity in the given region. Getting rid of hedgehogs typically involves setting traps or catching them with gloves. You can also use fencing as a control method, if you want to block the hedgehogs access to your garden altogether.

Traps for Hedgehogs control:

Traps are used to monitor or reduce the population of insects or other pests. They can be used against crawling, flying insects, mice, rats, cats, dogs, snakes or other pests. Mechanical traps are ideal for catching hedgehogs, as they can be used repetitively.

  • eu ghilotina trap t30 catchem rat - 6, small

    t30 Catch'em

    €10.65

      Manufacturer:

    • Ghilotina

      Get rid of:

    • Hedgehogs,
    • Nutria Coypu,
    • Rats,
    • 1 more

      Trap type:

    • Mechanical
  • eu woodstream trap havahart 0745 animal trap - 10, small

    Havahart 0745

    €34.3

      Manufacturer:

    • Woodstream

      Get rid of:

    • Hedgehogs,
    • Rats,
    • Squirrels,
    • 1 more

      Trap type:

    • Mechanical
  • eu woodstream trap 1025 havahart - 12, small

    Havahart 1025

    €61.32

      Manufacturer:

    • Woodstream

      Get rid of:

    • Hedgehogs,
    • Rats,
    • Squirrels,
    • 1 more

      Trap type:

    • Mechanical

You can catch a hedgehog using different types of traps, be they professional or homemade ones. Tunnel design traps can be used, and they can be disguised within a wooden tunnel box or the grassy area where the creatures usually roam. The box also orients the hedgehog in the right direction to be caught in the trap, disguises the trap, and protects it from the weather. It is better to place them near fence lines, along hedges or alongside a fallen tree, in order to eliminate the possibility of the hedgehog going around the trap. You can bait it with several types of food, but the most successful are either a mixture of cat or dog food, fresh chicken or eggs with the shells still on. You can also use dead insects such as snails or slugs, as hedgehogs prefer them, but make sure the insects have not died due to poisoning with pesticides, as this will affect the hedgehog as well.
You can also use traps meant for rats, as they are smaller in size. These types of small live traps usually have an opening and a metal plate toward the back that shuts the door if your target steps on it. Covering the trap with a cloth or blanket might be helpful to make it seem like a safe, sheltered area, as you might fool the hedgehog into going inside.

It is recommended that you lay traps for hedgehogs at the beginning of the birds’ breeding season, when hedgehogs may be at their most damaging, and in the autumn, when adult females can be targeted. Male hedgehogs begin hibernation much earlier than females, who delay hibernation to build up food reserves after the breeding season. Avoid transferring your scent to the trap by wearing gloves when baiting and handling it, as this way, hedgehogs will not avoid it. Even though their eye sight is not particularly good, they are able to notice quick movements and might get startled and decide to flee. Be careful when setting the trap, to make sure you are not scaring them away so soon.
Trapping them and then releasing the mammals into a remote area is the best thing to do. This way, you do not kill them, but you manage to remove them safely from your property.

Electronic repellents

These are useful tools for keeping hedgehogs away, as they do not harm the creature, but just creates an environment that does not attract it any further. Motion activated sprinkler repellents provide an innovative way to deter unwanted animals, such as hedgehogs. They use a blast of water to safely and effectively scare away intruders and keep your garden free of pests. These tools normally use infrared technology to detect an animal’s heat, during the day and night, and are capable of spraying the water up to 8m away. When a critter is detected, the unit releases a sudden burst of water and the creature is frightened away from the area. Using such systems is economic and environmental friendly as well, as they only repel using only water, they do not harm the creature and they do not pollute the environment.

Fencing

Although getting rid of hedgehogs that are already on your property is not possible by installing a fence, you can use this repelling method to keep others away from your property. Instead of continuously trapping the hedgehogs each time they emerge in your garden, you can install a fence that keeps them away for good.
Use a strong wire fence with openings no larger than 3″ x 3″, and make sure it also penetrates into the ground, to prevent hedgehogs from easily digging underneath it. You can also prevent them from occupying abandoned burrows by covering openings with wired fencing, but before you do this, make sure that those burrows are completely abandoned.

As mentioned before, hedgehogs are mostly considered beneficial animals to have around your yard and garden. If indeed you would rather remove them from your property, check the local legislation, to make sure hedgehogs are not considered a protected species, and apply one of the above methods to repel them. Keep in mind that using more than one method will do the job quicker, and make sure you have all the necessary information regarding where you can relocate the hedgehog once caught. If you do not have to deal with a hedgehog infestation at the moment, but just want to avoid such a situation, check our related article regarding ways in which you can ‘Prevent infestation with Hedgehogs’.

Got a question?

  1. what other methods to use besides poision to get rid of hedgehogs.

    Queenetta Johnson -
    Answer
    1. You can catch a hedgehog using different types of traps. Place them near fence lines, along hedges or alongside a fallen tree, in order to eliminate the possibility of the hedgehog going around the trap. You can bait it with several types of food, but the most successful are either a mixture of cat or dog food, fresh chicken or eggs with the shells still on.
      You can also use motion activated sprinkler repellents. These use infrared technology to detect the critters, and releases a sudden burst of water that frightens the hedgehog away.
      We recommend using one of these two types of traps:
      https://www.nexles.com/eu/woodstream-havahart-0745-animal-trap.html
      https://www.nexles.com/eu/woodstream-havahart-1025-animal-trap.html

      Nexles -
      Answer
  2. What treatments can be used to get rid of hedgehogs in your garden

    Jackie -
    Answer
    1. To get rid of hedgehogs, you can use either traps or repellents. Place the traps near fence lines, along hedges or alongside a fallen tree, so that the hedgehog cannot go around the trap. As bait, you can use a mixture of cat or dog food, fresh chicken or eggs with the shells still on.
      You can also use motion activated sprinkler repellents. These use infrared technology to detect the critters, and releases a sudden burst of water that frightens the hedgehog away.
      We recommend using one of these two types of traps:
      https://www.nexles.com/eu/woodstream-havahart-0745-animal-trap.html
      https://www.nexles.com/eu/woodstream-havahart-1025-animal-trap.html

      Nexles -
      Answer
    1. Hello, to catch hedgehogs it is recommended to use a trap such as Havahart 0745. After trapping it is very important to release them safely in another area, according to local legislation.

      Nexles -
      Answer

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