Hedgehogs are now in sharp decline, and we must do all that we can to help them.
HERE ARE A FEW INDICATORS THAT A HEDGEHOG IS UNWELL:
1. It is out in daylight -
Hedgehogs are strictly nocturnal. The only exception may be a nursing or pregnant female who is out gathering bedding. However, she will be moving purposefully and going about her business with great zeal.
2. It is wobbly and unsteady -
This is a definite warning sign. The hedgehog is probably cold and is in need of help. Take action quickly.
3. It looks very thin and has a tapered rear end
This is probably due to internal parasites such as round worm. Medication is needed. A Wildlife Rescue will run poo tests under a microscope to establish what is wrong.
4. It is sprawled on the lawn and looks to be sunbathing
Hedgehogs don't sunbathe and should not be out in daytime. A hedgehog seen in this condition needs immediate help.
5. There are flies buzzing all around it - The hedgehog may have a cut and blood is attracting flies. Act quickly !
6. It is covered in ticks -
The hedgehog has been going downhill for a while and the ticks will need removing by a Wildlife Rescue who have tick removers which completely remove the tick. If the head is left infection can occur.
7. It is covered in white fly eggs - these will need to be removed (we use a toothbrush) If the eggs are left, they will hatch into maggots and eat the hedgehog alive.
8. It has very baggy skin which "tents" when you pinch it upwards
this is due to dehydration. A Wildlife Rescue will be able to administer fluids sub cutaneously.
1. DO pick the hedgehog up. Using gloves, place the hedgehog in a deep sided box, or cat carrier with a fleece and some sort of heat source.
2. DO keep the hedgehog warm. A hot water bottle wrapped in a pillow case or even a plastic pop bottle filled with warm water.
3. DO ring a Wildlife Rescue or Hedgehog Hospital immediately. The British Hedgehog Preservation Society has a list of carers in all areas.
4. DO take an injured hedgehog directly to your Veterinary Practice. There is no charge for wildlife.
5. DO offer a shallow bowl of water and a dish of mashed up meaty cat/dog food and kitten biscuits. (however a poorly hedgehog may be too weak to eat or drink - use your own judgement)
1. DON'T watch the hedgehog for days and days. Hedgehogs go downhill rapidly and if you leave it three days before taking action, it may be too late to save it. ACT immediately you suspect the hedgehog is ill.
2. DON'T give the hedgehog cow's milk. Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant. Offer plain water in a shallow bowl
3. DON'T try and care for the hedgehog yourself unless you have experience and the right equipment, such as Intensive Care Units, medications, Hartmanns Fluids (and know how to inject sub cutaneously) Microscope to examine poo samples, scales to weigh the hedgehog daily, tick removing equipment, plus accurate record keeping. Hedgehogs are fragile little creatures and go downhill rapidly.
4. DON'T put the hedgehog in a box and put it in a cold garage hoping for the best. The last thing a poorly hedgehog needs is to be placed somewhere cold.
5. DON'T go out into the garden and dig up slugs and worms. Offer a mashed up meaty cat food, although a poorly hedgehog will need syringe feeding.
On the 1st April, a female hedgehog was admitted with lacerations and a broken leg. These were caused by a dog attack. The leg had to be amputated
The Wildlife Orphanage has had an influx of small hedgehogs over the last few weeks. These are the Autumn Juveniles, born late in the year. They are often seen out in daytime and looking a bit wobbly. Please act quickly if you see one as they go downhill rapidly.
With winter just around the corner, these little hogs will be just too light for hibernation. They need to put on lots of weight to see them through the winter.
If you see a tiny hedgehog roaming about, often in daylight,
Please ring 0771 1883072 for advice.