The New Hedgehog Pre-release Unit

Woodlands Animal Sanctuary are very pleased to be able to announce that a new hedgehog pre-release unit has been built in their stable block. This is in addition to the existing hog unit they have and will enable hogs of a certain weight, who are getting ready to be released to be moved out of the unit where they have been rehabilitated and into intermediary accommodation until either the weather permits or a suitable soft release site has been found.


Woodlands are happy for hogs to be released when they reach a weight of at least 1llb 10oz, but they are to be no more than 2llbs. This is so that they are large enough to survive in the wild, but are still fit and healthy enough for life in the big wide world. Much like us, if hogs are significantly over weight, they too can encounter difficulties with everyday life activities. Therefore, hogs who have been really tucking into their food over winter may be put onto a restricted diet to control their weight prior to release! However, as with a lot of things in Britain, release can depend upon the weather! The team will wait until the weather improves sufficiently towards spring, before they will allow any of the hogs in their care to be taken to a soft release site. The chance of frost has be virtually zero before release for hedgehogs will be considered.

The process the team use for releasing a hedgehog is that it will be moved to the pre-release unit on site, from the rehabilitation unit until a suitable site is found. Members of the public are asked to volunteer to provide a soft release site for hogs from Woodlands and there is a process they are asked to follow. On being taken from the charity, the hog will live in a hutch (rabbit or similar) with the legs cut down so it is not too high off the floor for the hog to vacate it when it is ready. The hog will remain locked in the hutch for a fortnight, so it can acclimatise itself to the new environment. During this time, the volunteer is required to ensure the hutch is kept clean and hygienic for the hog – disturbing it and handling it as little as possible, as well as providing clean fresh water and food. The food can be purchased from Woodlands prior to the hog being taken. After two weeks the hutch door can then be left open, with a sturdy ramp provided so the hog can exit and enter the hutch easily, with food and water still being provided. Once the hog has stopped using the hutch, it can be removed, but one of the conditions of being accepted as being a soft release site for hedgehogs is that you agree to provide suitable food and water for the hog 365 days a year even without the hutch.

For the team at Woodlands it has seemed like a very long winter, with them caring for around 100 hogs over the winter months. So they are very much looking forwards to being able to release those hogs who are ready, to suitable soft release sites as soon as possible. This will allow space to be created and a deep spring clean to be completed, before the influx of hogs for this year begins.


If you think you may be able to offer a hog a release site please contact Woodlands either by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by telephone: 01704 823293.

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