Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Hedgehogs in January - written by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society

Most of the hedgehogs seen at this time of year will be unable to hibernate – there may be some regular visitors that decide to keep eating because there is a regular supply of food but these will be in the minority.  Having said that, if the weather turns mild at the end of the month some hedgehogs may wake from hibernation but judging from previous years this is unlikely.

It is always helpful to leave some food out, but in the cold weather, when it is less likely to be taken, you can put out dry cat biscuits, these will not go off so quickly and will be less wasteful.  Leave a dish of water out as well not just for the hedgehogs but for all the wildlife in your garden.

If you are tempted out to do some gardening remember that there could be hedgehogs hibernating in your garden.  An unusually large pile of leaves could well be a hibernaculum (hedgehog’s winter nest) as could any piles of vegetation, so do take care when raking or forking over any suspect areas.  If you should discover a hedgehog then pile the leaves etc. back over it and perhaps check the pile the next morning – it is likely the hedgehog will have woken properly and moved to a new nest.  Provide some fresh water and some food as it will be very thirsty and hungry; the food will also help replace some of the fat it had to burn up when rousing.


If you see any hedgehog out and about at this time of year it is best to contact the British Hedgehog Preservation Society on 01584 890801 (if you can weigh the hedgehog first that is always helpful).  Out of hours you will be directed to other numbers but whatever the time, with patience, you should be able to speak to a real person.  For more information about hedgehogs and how to help them visit The BHPS web site at www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk 

Friday, 29 November 2013

Looking For a Very Special Home


On the 8th October 2013 we took in a little hedgehog weighing just 218 grams. She'd been taken to Cheshunt Medivets who discovered wire wrapped right around her body. It had caused a horrific injury. Gemma (one of the nurses) spent ages carefully removing the wire and cleaned the wound. For the following two weeks Gemma (named after the nurse who originally helped) was taken to our vet (A120 Medivet) every other day for the next two weeks, so the wound could be checked and cleaned. To begin with her chances of survival were low. But she proved to be a fighter.

Gemma's wound three weeks after coming into us.
Against the odds Gemma has survived and is now thriving. However she has left us with a little bit of a problem, or rather the person who carelessly left the wire lying around has. Gemma is now unable to curl up. This means she can never be released. The following images show the damage the wire has done.

This is how a hedgehog should look from the back.

This is Gemma - the muscle that should enable her to curl up is badly damaged.

This is how a hedgehog should be able to curl up.

This is Gemma trying to curl up. 
So we are now on the hunt for the perfect home for Gemma. As you can see she has very special needs and will be the same sort of commitment as taking on a pet. Although she is used to be handled she is never going to be tame. It would be unfair of us to expect her to live her life in a small hutch and run. So we are going to be very, very choosy about where she will spend the rest of her life. So here is what she will need:
  • Someone willing to take on the full responsibly and cost of looking after her, all year round for the rest of her life.
  • Somewhere very secure, large (much larger than the average garden) that predators such as foxes cannot enter and with lots of vegetation for her to sniff around and enable her to be a hedgehog. 
  • A place that is large, full of lovely things to sniff and warm for the winter months.
So if you are lucky enough to have a totally walled mature garden and a very large green house then you may be the person Gemma is looking for. Alternately do you work somewhere that has these things and you think you could talk the manager (or you may even be the manager) into offering Gemma a home.

If you are willing to help and think you have what Gemma needs please contact me at lynne@hertshogline.com 

Note:
Please be aware the average garden will not do - the place we are looking for needs to be very special indeed. 

Thursday, 24 October 2013

And the IFAW Vet of The Year is .....

A few months ago I saw a form asking for nominations for the IFAW yearly awards. One of the categories was 'Vet of The Year.' I knew exactly who I wanted to nominate and so picked up the form, took it home, completed it and sent it off. I thought no more of it until I received a call from Helen (from the A120 Medivets) asking me if I wanted to join her at the IFAW awards ceremony.  

She'd won! Now I don't want to sound surprised because she really did deserve to win, but you never think that when you nominate someone they'll win. However I wanted to thank Helen for all the hard work she does for us and other local organisations, such as Mutts In Distress and nominating her was the best way I could think of doing it.

So there we were on Tuesday (22nd October) in the Houses of Parliament, holding a glass of wine and nibbling on the most delicious food, listening to Bill Oddie as he introduced the winners of each category. Needless to say we had a fab time and what follows are just a few images of our day.

Bill Oddie introducing the winners

Helen receiving her award - couldn't get a better view there were these official photographers in the way! 

Helen with her award

The view across the river taken from the House of Parliament 

P.S. My claim to fame - I've now heard Bill Oddie say Herts Hogline. He's very unlikely ever to remember that but I certainly will.  

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Hedgehogs in October by Kay Bullen (British Hedgehog Preservation Society)


Some of the really large hedgehogs may go into hibernation this month but the smaller hedgehogs will still need to put on weight.  The colder weather makes some of the hedgehogs’ natural food become less active and eventually disappears, so putting out extra food for the hedgehogs can be a lifesaver.  It is not the cold that will kill these juveniles but the lack of food brought about by the cold, so even in really cold weather they will have to continue to forage.

Do take care when raking up leaves and tidying your garden.  Check there are no hedgehogs in pile of rubbish that you intend to bin or burn.  If you can perhaps leave a pile of leaves in a sheltered dry spot for a hedgehog to use.  Other creatures may also use it e.g. a toad perhaps.  The birds also like to turn the leaves over looking for worms and other invertebrates.  If you are clearing any drains of leaves try to find a cover for the drain to stop both leaves and hedgehogs from falling into that drain.  Make sure any netting from the Runner Beans, fruit trees etc. is stored away safely so hedgehogs cannot become tangled in it.  There can be so many dangers for hedgehogs in our gardens and if there is something to get caught up in then the hedgehog is sure to find it.  Have a look at our ”Gardening with Hedgehogs” leaflet on our web site.

People often say to me hedgehogs are full of fleas.  I have to say that when I started to rehabilitate hedgehogs over 20 years ago this was the case.  However this no longer seems to be the case.  Many of the hedgehogs taken in by rescue centres do not have fleas, some will of course, but a large proportion do not.  This is a worry because will the cause of the flea decline work its way up the chain and eventually affect hedgehogs.  If you want to find out more about hedgehogs visit the British Hedgehog Preservation Society’s web site at www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk  We have a leaflet called “Autumn Juveniles” that you may find of help and interest at this time of year.

If you find a hedgehog needing help or if you need more advice call the BHPS on 01584 890801 – it is better to be safe than sorry.  

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Arthur Formerly Known as Spike

On the 3rd August we received a call from Medivets in Chestnut who had taken in a hedgehog that had a broken leg. Sadly the leg could not be saved and they asked if we could rehabilitate a three legged hedgehog. Our answer was yes, as long as a back leg which thankfully it was. So they kindly removed the leg without charge.

Spike a day or so after his big operation
Weighing just 395 grams

Once they were happy with his progress he was transferred to Medivets in Enfield then to our local vets, the A120 Medivets, so he could be collected. Due to work commitments HQ was closed, so one of our fab carers (Michelle) stepped in and took over his care. She named him Spike, she names all her hedgehog visitors Spike. Now Spike was kept inside on towels for just over a week to allow his wound to heal. Whilst in Michelle's care he was found to be very partial to meal worms and would hiss like a trooper when picked up to be checked. Once happy the wound had healed he was moved outside into a hutch and run, to allow him to get used to being on grass. He was still being closely monitored to ensure he was adapting to have a leg missing.

Healing well, enjoying the evening sun outside and
now weighing a whopping 465 grams

He adapted quickly to only having three legs and was able to keep his face clean, so he was moved to his new forever home where he was renamed Arthur.

Temporary home whilst larger premises more suitable 
for winter were located

Arthur has been in his new home for just under two weeks. He has settled in, is coping well with life and at 674 grams he is ready for hibernation.

Arthur as he is now - ready for winter

It's great to see Arthur doing so well and as and when I receive up-dates I'll keep you posted on our Facebook page

Lastly I'd like to thank everyone who helped in saving Arthur - a great team effort.   

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Triplets Followed By Twins

On 16th of July I received a call from a lady who had found a small hoglet (a female) out of its own. Unfortunately due to work commitments HQ was closed. Thankfully Sophie from the A120 Medivets (Bishop's Stortford) had offered to help if any hoglets needed it. So the hoglet was dropped off to her.

The next day it's siblings (a brother and a sister) were found. Thankfully they had been picked up quick and were fairly healthy apart from a few fly eggs. The two girls weighed 85 grams whilst their brother just 75 grams. Then a few hours later another two hoglets were found by another member of the public. Sadly their mother had been found dead and at just 30 grams each would surely have died. Although Sophie had her hands full with the triplets she madly agreed to take on the twins as well.

Sophie kept me updated and by the 20th the triplets had reached around 100 grams each and the twins were trying to eat by themselves.

The triplets

One of the triplets enjoying a little tea

Under Sophie's tender care the triplets and twins continued to thrive and were soon looking for a fosterer to fatten them up (ready for the winter) and take them for walks to get used to foraging. In stepped Alison (and her family) who took on the task of caring for the triplets and Di (and Rob) took on the task of caring for the twins.

Both Alison and Di have kept me up-to-date with the progress of the triplets and twins. Here are just a few of the lovely photographs they've sent me.  

The Triplets:

The triplets enjoying their new enclosure

23rd August - what a handful!

One of the triplets - free to roam the garden

The Twins:

video

The twins enjoying exploring their new home

Fizz keeping guard
 
Hopefully by the beginning of next month all five hoglets will be large enough to be returned to the wild. Now we're waiting for the autumn babies to start coming in so we can start the process all over again.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Pocket Full of Change

It's that time of year when we return from holiday with a pocket full of foreign currency. Many of us never know what to do with it so simply throw into a the nearest drawer or pot. These coins then spend months perhaps even years lying there doing nothing.

Well that doesn't have to be the case. Many not-for-profit organisations (such as Herts Hogline) and charities collect and sell foreign currency to raise much needed funds. For each bucket of foreign coins Herts Hogline can raise around £60. This would cover the cost of care and rehabilitation for two hedgehogs.

So please collect those coins. Ask family and friends for theirs. Perhaps encourage a school or an after school club such as the local Brownies or Cub Scouts to rescue those un-loved coins and put them to work.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Up-date on Vince

Background: 
In October 2010 a large male hog came into us very flat, very skinny and close to death. He surprised us all by how determined he was to not give up the battle. Unfortunately it wasn't until he was much better that we realised Vince was partially paralysed (back legs). However he had shown no signs of being stressed it was decided to find him a new home. So in March 2011 Vince moved into his new forever home with one of our fab volunteer fosterers Elaine.

August 2013:
On the 12th August I received a message from Elaine saying she was a little worried about Vince, he was smelling. Knowing he was a fully grown adult when he came to us and he's been with us for three years this October we braced ourselves for bad news.

We agreed Vince would need a trip to the vets. However prior to this visit he'd also need a little bath in warm salty water, just in case there was an infection and to ensure there were no maggots.

Vince drying off after 'Operation Rinse Vince'

Once he was dry Vince was placed outside in a run, he normally enjoys the freedom of the entire garden. However you can never trust a hog to be where you want them to be, so we decided to play it safe and place him on 'house arrest' for the night. 

Temporary run

The following day Vince was taken to Enfield Medivets and was seen by Kelly. It was discovered Vince had cut one of his back legs and it was now badly infected. The wound was cleaned and a small drain was fitted and Vince returned home the next day. At present he is recuperating indoors but is now well enough to accepting visitor. 

Vince being as sociable as Vince gets!

He has two more doses of anti-biotics to go and a quick check up at the vets. We are hoping that by the middle of next week he'll be back out in the garden with Shirley (one of our one-eyed hogs). 

We'll let you know how he progresses.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Friday Night Rescue (21/06/13)

I'd just settled in for the night when I received a call from a lady, (who was all ready to go out on the town), who had just had a neighbour knock on her door. Her neighbour had found a hedgehog tangled in the netting that stretches over the top of our blue recycling bins. Between them they'd managed to cut away most of the netting but couldn't get the last little bit. So were calling for help. I don't normally do house calls but I was concerned to hear that just 10cm or so from her they'd also found a very, very young hoglet. So I jumped into the car and popped around to see them.

Within a couple of minutes we managed to remove the remaining netting from mum. I then gave the hoglet a quick look over (ensuring I did not touch it) and it seemed quite active and well. We then checked mum again and noticed fly eggs in one ear. So between us we managed (with the aid of a few cotton buds) to remove the offending eggs. It became apparent this poor mother hog had been caught in the netting all day and had given birth whilst caught out in the open.

Mum and baby

On occasions like this it is very difficult to decide what the best cause of action is. Are mum and baby brought in, where it's possible mum will become stressed and ignore or even kill her baby? Or is it better to leave in a safe place in the hopes mum isn't too upset and abandons her baby? As both appeared well and the ladies involved were prepared to keep an eye on mum and baby it was decided to leave them where Mother Nature intended them to be, in the wild. So we cobbled together a house, filled with fresh hay and a bowl of food nearby. 

One make-shift house in an out of  the way position

However as we stood talking the mother hedgehog left the house and made a small scrape under a bush and settled down. After seeking advise from Enfield Wildlife Hospital it was decided the best thing to do was bring mum and baby in and keep an eye on them. So I now wait with fingers crossed hoping mum does not ignored her baby overnight. If she does then it looks like I'm in for some late nights feeding. 

To round off this blog I urge everyone who has such netting on their recycle bins to remove it, cut it up into small pieces and put in the waste bin. Finally please spread the word with family and friends and encourage them to get those scissors out. 

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Hedgehogs in Spring/Summer - by Kay Bullen of the B.H.P.S.

Lapping warm goats milk
(NEVER give cows milk)

Baby hedgehogs (hoglets) will continue to be born throughout this month. If you see the same
hedgehog around then it is likely to be a female.  They often have regular routes that they follow when they are foraging, so if you see a hedgehog by the shed at 10pm then it may well be there again the next night at or around that time.

There is a great deal of worry amongst hedgehog rehabilitators that there are so few hedgehogs being admitted. Whilst it is good not to have them needing care it also means that there are not so many around. This is also confirmed by the lack of kills seen on our roads. Mortality was probably high during the extended winter hibernation so every hedgehog seen is even more precious and its well-being is necessary to aid the hedgehogs’ dwindling population.

We can all help by making our gardens safer for hedgehogs (see the BHPS’s leaflet 'Gardening ‘with’Hedgehogs') and by providing food and water for them.  To protect the food, from both cats and the weather, make a feeding station, for example try putting a paving slab on bricks (leave a gap between 2 of the bricks as an entrance hole); or use a rabbit hutch with its door wedged partly open; or an upside down plastic dog bed. As a final suggestion try to get one of those deep plastic mushroom boxes or an under the bed storage box. Cut a 5 x 5 inch hole in one of the short sides so when the box is upside down the hole becomes an entrance. Put water and food (meat based dog or cat food or a propriety brand of complete hedgehog food or dry cat biscuits – again meat based) at the far end and weigh the box down with a stone.

If you have a shed or summer house that is raised off the ground slightly food can be put under this.  However this is also a favourite place for a female to make her nursery nest so before using it as a feeding station check there is not a nest there. The female hedgehog will not be happy about other hedgehogs coming to a food source so close to her babies.

If you want to find out more about hedgehogs visit the British Hedgehog Preservation Society’s web site at www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk or scroll up and click on our info pages.

If you find a hedgehog needing help or if you need more advice call the BHPS on 01584 890801 – it is better to be safe than sorry.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Thank You to Ark Wildlife

I was feeling low, I'd just made the very difficult decision the battle our latest guest was fighting was one he could not win. Although I'm still feeling low (I always do when we lose a hog) there is now a little lightness to my mood. I've just taken delivery of 15kg of donated hedgehog food from Ark Wildlife.  We'd been nominated by Janet Gerrard (thank you - thank you - thank you) as a Hedgehog Hero and because so many of you voted (again thank you) we are now looking at the marvellous results. This will really make a difference and greatly reduce our food bill over the next few months.

One huge bag of donated hedgehog food from Ark Wildlife

However your support does not have to end there. We plan to join Ark Wildlife's Charity Partner Scheme. Basically every time you make a purchase from the Ark Wildlife website they donate 5% of the total value of your order to us. On average it costs £25 per hedgehog and as a small non-funded not-for-profit organisation every penny counts. So as they say watch this space and once we're signed up to this scheme we'll let you. In the meantime visit their website and check out how you can help all the visitors to your garden. 





  

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Get Ready For Hoglets - by The British Hedgehog Preservation Society


Although the natural world is a little behind schedule this year, there will still be some hoglets born in June.  Mum will have 4-5 hoglets in a litter.  They are born blind, deaf and naked; however the first set of prickles starts to poke through when the hoglets are just 2 hours old.

Hand reared hoglet lapping goats milk NEVER give cows

If you have a regular visitor to your garden at this time of year it is likely to be a female rather than a nomadic male.  Be aware that she may have chosen your garden in which to make her nest and take extra care when gardening, so you do not disturb that nest.  Should you accidentally disturb a nest then recover it as best you can.  With luck the female will return and over the next few days she may well move her litter to a new nest.  If however she does not return, then the litter will need to be taken into care.  You can tell if she returns by making an opening into the nest and putting a small object that will be pushed aside as she enters the nest.  Do not keep checking the nest by opening it up (this applies to undisturbed nests as well) as extra disturbance may well make her disappear altogether or even attack her young. 

In general any small hoglets found in the garden squeaking or just lying about will need to be rescued.  Bring them indoors, put in a high-sided box and most importantly provide them with a covered warm hot water bottle (keep replacing the water so it does not get too cold).  If there is only one hoglet, please search for more.  Call us or the British HedgehogPreservation Society ASAP for advice.

If a nest is in an inappropriate place or a dog will continually disturb it and it needs to be move please do make sure you catch the mother first as she is the one that will run away.  Without mum the chances of the litter surviving will be reduced, especially if they are new born.  There is no substitute for the real mum with real hedgehog milk.

Note - putting an object at or in the entrance of a nest box will also tell you whether it is in use without opening it up and checking.

If you want to find out more about hedgehogs visit the British Hedgehog Preservation Society’s web.  If you find a hedgehog needing help or if you need more advice call the BHPS on 01584 890801 – it is better to be safe than sorry.