Because many juvenile hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) are "rehabilitated" with little or no previous experience of life in the wild, a study is described in which 12 such animals were monitored after release in Devon, UK. They quickly learned their way about, built nests and found them again, and interacted normally with each other and with wild conspecifics. While several showed significant weight loss, this represented only the excess accumulated in captivity. Deaths caused by a predator (badger) and motor cars suggest that captives destined for release should not be allowed to become tame or unwary. However, deaths are to be expected in normal circumstances, and at least one third of these animals survived beyond the 9 week study despite having no previous experience of life in the wild. It was concluded that, although deaths are to be expected, rehabilitating hedgehogs, even naive juveniles, is possible.
|Publication Title||Animal Welfare|
|Author Address||Department of Biology, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey TW20 OEX, UK.|
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