Dutch hedgehogs are struggling this winter: here’s why

Hedgehogs are getting ready to hibernate for the upcoming winter but with an overabundance of hoglets (baby hedgehogs!), animal shelters all over the Netherlands are the busiest they’ve been all year, according to RTL Nieuws.

These precious little ones can be found foraging in November around forests and parks, and other heavily vegetated areas — you may even find one in your garden! 

Environmental concerns for hedgehogs

Winters are becoming milder and starting later and hedgehogs in the Netherlands are beginning to nest later too. As a result, hoglets don’t have enough fat to hibernate through the winter months, facing starvation and sickness. 

Hedgehog shelter Egelopvang Den Haag and many other sanctuaries are becoming overcrowded with the wild hoglets found in the worst possible condition. With the help of many vets and volunteers, these shelters do their best to nurse hoglets and hedgehogs throughout the winter but there are plenty of things you can do, starting in your own garden:

  • ❌ Don’t leave traps or pesticides: Hedgehogs are garden-friendly and regular, old friendly animals. They feed on plenty of unwanted insects and pests, and protect biodiversity. 
  • 🍃 Keep your gardens green: Autumn leaves, dry grass, branches, moss, you name it. Hedgehogs use these to forage and build shelter safely, so don’t throw anything away!
  • 💧 Leaving out food: Dry cat food and water provide hedgehogs with enough nutrients to survive. Avoid foods like peanut butter and milk, even if the Dutch love them. 
  • 🚑 Call your local pet shelter: Treating hedgehogs yourself without the supervision of a licensed vet or animal specialist is a no-no. If you see a struggling hedgehog, carefully pick them up with a towel, call your local dierenambulance (animal ambulance), and await instructions. 

Consider volunteering at a shelter, looking into taking care of hedgehogs at home, and making local outdoor spaces like gardens and parks just a little more cozy for these animals. 

Have you seen hedgehogs in the wild? Tell us your experiences in the comments below!

Featured Image: Egor Kamelev/Pexels

Katrien Nivera 🇵🇭
Katrien Nivera 🇵🇭
Third culture kid Katrien has been working as a writer and editor at DutchReview for over two years, originally moving to the Netherlands as a tween. Equipped with a Bachelor’s in communication and media and a Master’s in political communication, she’s here to stay for her passion for writing, whether it’s current Dutch affairs, the energy market, or universities. Just like the Dutch, Katrien lives by her agenda and enjoys the occasional frietje met mayo — she just wishes she could grow tall, too.
  1. We have a small hedgehog in our front garden, in Amstelveen. It just showed up one day, and the dogs keep scaring it when we go out. We weren’t sure if we should pick it up, or let it find its own way home. We will be leaving out water and dried cat food for it tonight.

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