For Hedgehog Awareness Week, Dawn Lawrence shares the story of the time she came across a hog in need . . .
She should ideally have been taken straight to one of the hedgehog rescue centres dotted around the country. Unfortunately we were car-less for the time being, so we kept our little visitor for another day and night until we had the means to take her where she needed to go.
Looking After Our Charge
We gave her cat food and water. One must never give a hedgehog cow’s milk, since they cannot digest the lactose. A hot-water bottle was provided, wrapped in a towel, and some covering for her to burrow into. We made sure the heating was kept on all night, too, so that the room temperature was constant.
My husband was still concerned, however, and got up at 3 a.m. to make sure our small visitor was comfortable!
Newspaper or shredded paper is as good as anything for cover. Since we didn’t have any, however, she had to be content with an old sheet torn into strips for bedding. All hedgehogs are nocturnal, and it was funny seeing her almost buried out of sight during the daytime with a sheet over her head!
Little Miss Pricklepin, as we called her, seemed to enjoy her stay with us. Eventually she realised that we were not about to hurt her, and she would lie stretched out quite blissfully, warm and comfortable beside her hot-water bottle.
To The Rescue Centre
Hedgehogs have a range of small noises which they make, and ours made soft twittering, purring sounds to show that she was happy. On the day we took her to the rescue centre, we were quite sorry to lose her. But she travelled very well in her box on the back seat of the car.
My husband was worried about all the potholes in the country lanes, which he had to navigate carefully so as not to jolt her.
We travelled into the next county without mishap, and arrived at Prickles Hedgehog Rescue in Somerset in just over an hour. Little Miss Pricklepin had had quite an adventure.
The vet there checked her out and discovered that she had fractured her leg. She seemed quite happy after getting her splint fitted, though. Now I hear she is quite famous, and appears on the centre’s Facebook page, showing off her new splint! Let us hope her leg will heal very soon. I am so glad that we were able to save her.
Hedgehogs In Need
Hedgehogs, sadly, are declining in Britain due to habitat loss, as well as predators such as badgers and foxes. One third of their population has been lost in 10 years, and they are now declining in Britain as fast as tigers are worldwide.
These little creatures are such a well-loved part of our countryside. It is unthinkable they could become extinct in our lifetime. So let us all do everything we can to protect them. Each and every one is very precious!
Find out more about Hedgehog Awareness Week at the British Hedgehog Preservation Society’s website.