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 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.