Friday, 11 May 2012

Look out for hedgehogs

I was rather hoping for a happy ending to this story. I found this little hedgehog yesterday on our village green. The grass had been cut a few days earlier and was lying around in clumps, hedgehog was snuggled in amongst it, looking like it had just dozed off. On closer inspection I saw it was breathing, but a spot of blood on it's nose was evidence that it had been injured.


I couldn't just leave it there, so I went home and got a box, and gently picked it up and carefully put it in the new bed, taking some of the grass with it. I found a number in the Yellow Pages (phone book), for a hedgehog rescue, and spoke to a lady in Lincolnshire. She then put me in touch with a local gentleman who looks after sick hedgehogs. He told me which vet he uses so I rang and made an appointment. Forty minutes later I arrived at the surgery.

I was hoping the damage wasn't too bad, and little hedgehog could be nursed back to full health. The lady vet checked him out, his breathing had become a little bit laboured, he was struggling. She showed me the side of his head, it was swollen, signs of a glancing blow with a passing car. He made no attempt to curl up into a ball, a hedgehogs natural defence mechanism. Sadly the verdict was that he was not going to make it, and the decision was made to give him a peacefull ending. Poor little hedgehog.

Please lower your speed a little when driving around at night. I know it isn't always possible to see them or avoid them, they scuttle across the road oblivious to the dangers. We need our hedgehogs, they are good for our gardens. If you want to feed them, they like cat food. I often put some out in my back garden, it's lovely to watch them come out and tuck in to a good meal. Be aware of them if you are dog walking at night, if you see them in the road stay with them, gently usher them across. Pick them up and put them in a hedge bottom if you have to. Do your best, keep a look out for our prickly friends.   

14 comments:

  1. Poor Hedgehog. At least he had you to care for him in the end. He went peacefully. I can't stand to see an animal suffering.

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  2. Sadly you see living hedghogs now very seldom. The only ones we see in my neighbourhood are the dead ones by the side of the road. We lately see also dead urban foxes along roads. I`m sure the car drivers must be aiming to hit them as foxes are quite quick when crossing roads. I`ve watched them do it. It does effect me when I`m driving along and I see a dead animal by the side of the road. Such sad endings for these beautiful creatures. You are right. We should look out for them! But, not everyone is as caring as you and me. As I said, some drivers must be aiming to hit them on the roads.

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  3. Thank you for your caring for this lovable little creature Ilona, and bringing them to the fore, but please add that despite what may be thought NEVER leave out milk for the hogs, they are lactose intollerant and though they may drink it, it WILL kill them or at least give great suffering. It is far more important to offer water with the food. Cat food either dried or in jelly is preferable, but none with fish as this can cause brittle bones, fish in not in their natural diet. Also, if you see ANY hedgehog out in daylight there IS a problem, they are a nocturnal animal and will ONLY be out in the light if sick or injured.

    I have two that live in my garden and have taken a number to the West Midlands Hedgehog Rescue Centre, and have since become friends with the lady that runs it. I feed (and watch) them nightly with sunflower hearts, crushed peanuts (do not give whole or halved peanuts as they can get wedged in their mouths and they can starve) porridge oats (uncooked), and their favourite dried mealworms, with a plentiful supply of water. Last year I had as many as six in the garden at any one time :o)) I know that we are very lucky to have a fair population of them and do my utmost to help them.
    For more information check these two site linkshttp://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/
    http://www.hedgehogstreet.org/pages/hedgehog-street.html
    Sorry, hope I haven't gone on too much!
    Rose H

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  4. well said Ilona. I would also suggest people check their bonfires. SOmetimes thay are stacked for everal weeks or months in bad weather, only to be lit on the first dry evening. There might be a spiky fella snuggled up at the bottom.

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  5. Rose, you have not gone on too much, thank you for adding that important information and those usefull links. My frying pan filled with water, on the lawn, is visited by hedgehogs, as well as frogs. I change the water frequently.

    Good tip about bonfires Kath, thanks for posting it. in fact I wish bonfires were banned altogether.

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  6. Good for you. I'm the same. It's a pity we have a useless vet in our area and it's too far to drive to a decent one when we need one. take care.

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  7. Ohhh poor little fella. I love hedgehogs and I can't remember the last time I saw one. We are thinking of adopting a few for our garden from a wildlife place. We would need to safeguard our pond first though so they couldn't fall in. Shame he didn't make it but glad he was put to sleep and out of pain :o( You have a kind heart for animals, thats why I love to read your blog. x

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  8. So proud of you, Ilona. You did everything right...so many people do the wrong thing compromising the animal further. This (retired) wildlife rehabilitator gives you a pat on the back and a hug (even though you don't really like hugs....I do!)
    Jane x

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  9. Awww, what a sweet little thing. Such a shame.

    I did some volunteer work with the Cardiff University Otter Project, which dissects dead otters from all over the country to get information on how different populations are doing.

    Most of the otters they are sent are from road kill and it was so shocking to help with a dissection. Some of them look completely fine on the outside, maybe a broken leg or something, but internally their organs have completely shattered into pieces.

    Because they look ok, it's safe to assume the cars weren't going particularly fast. Even a slow impact can completely destroy the body of an animal (or person.).

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  10. That reminds me of a very posh woman I used to work for; she wanted a piece of hedgehog skin to put on the end of a stick to prod the horses without hurting them. (I never heard of anyone else in the horse world doing that!) She put an advert in the paper asking for hedgehog skin with prickles and was amazed to find the RSPCA inspector on her doorstep. It never occurred to her that anyone would kill a hedgehog to fulfill her request, she simply thought someone might know of a dead one on the road. Incidently, she was never cruel to her horses or dogs; far from it; but I could have done with the RSPCG (for grooms!)

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  11. Poor little thing. I keep screaming at people to slow down here... I don't know why everyone is in such a rush!

    I got your message, sorry, we've been out of coverage for the last few days. Can give you a call later this evening if that works?

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  12. Oh well done you. Poor little thing didn't make it in the end, but at least you cut short it's suffering.

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  13. He was lucky you found him and he didn't have to suffer mor ethan was necassary.

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  14. So sad to see that poor little thing. I haven't seen one for years.

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