Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Hedgehog rescue activate!

On Monday I got a lift home from work, which turned out to be rather fortuitous as when I got close to my front door I heard a scrabbling in the front garden.  The garden is small but completely overgrown with clover.  I feared it was a rat (we've had them before).  It definitely wasn't a blackbird (their scrabbling sounds different and you don't get them in green plants).  I looked closer and realised it was  a hedgehog. Hedgehog!  I haven't seen a hedgehog for years.
My excitement grew and I thought I must tell my boyfriend about this, so I started filming the hog.  Then I remembered that hogs are nocturnal and if out in daylight are often ill. So I frantically called a friend who is a wildlife expert.  Meanwhile, the hog tried to leave my front garden towards the road, so I blocked his entrance with my bag.  No one wants a run over hog.

The boyfriend came home and we rescued the hog and put him at the back of the garden to find his way out to the woodland behind our house.  It's only little - the size of a hand.  It all balled up and is adorable.  It didn't look sickly, or ill, it was fairly sprightly.

Then I checked my facebook and voicemail and had the aforementioned wildife experts telling me to rescue the hog and call a rescue centre. I then started feeling really sick and worried so went to investigate and found the hog out back.  I picked it up, put it in a plastic box, gave it some catfood (NEVER give hedgehogs milk and bread - it kills them) and felt a bit better.  The boyfriend came home and we also gave it a makeshift hot water bottle wrapped in a towel.

Then I waited for the rescue lady to turn up.  When she arrived at about 10.30pm she looked at him, pronounced him definitely a boy and said that he was probably out in the day because he couldn't find enough food at night.  She said he was about 12 weeks old but really underweight.  If he goes into hibernation now he'll die, because they need to be at least 600grams to survive the winter period.  She also said something about the quality of his spines (not great) and that his pelvis was out of whack, I can't remember exactly.  She said he didn't have these killer maggot/fly things that eat the hogs alive (!) but that he probably did have a worm problem - hence why he was so active.  She will worm him and feed him up and release him.

Here's one video I took of him in the front garden:
That's only about 16 seconds long.

Here's a longer one, about 7 and a half minutes.  If you skip ahead to 5 minutes 30 you'll see him more clearly.
This might show up the wrong way up - tilt your head to the right to see it properly.  I'm amending it in youtube but I don't know when it will change on here.

If you find a hedgehog out in daylight do the following:
Pick it up using gloves or a towel, place it in a cardboard box lined with newspaper or an old towel.
Add a hot water bottle or plastic bottle filled with warm water (warm - not boiling).  Make sure the hog can get away from the bottle if it needs to.  The heat helps stop them going into shock.
Give it cat or dog food and water (a small amount) only once it's active.  Or you can mix up weetabix, whiskas supermeat (not a fish one) and water in a bowl.  If you don't have those, do a hardboiled egg mixed with water.
Don't put the food and water in a deep bowl they can't get into or out of.
Keep the hog in the dark.
Then call your local rescue place.  If their advice contradicts the above follow their advice.

Thanks to Hallswood Animal Sanctuary for collecting the hedgehog, their advice and their information.  They are good.  Please give them money.

This whole experience made a shitty day a bit better.  I'm really glad I could keep the little bugger alive and do something for him.

1 comment:

cerebus660 said...

That's a great story! He was lucky you found him. Hedgehogs have been in decline for the last few years so anything people can do to help them is a bonus. We often used to see them in our garden but none at all this year.