Thursday, 2 July 2015

Hedgehogs in the garden

Last November I found a hedgehog in my garden. It was at night, and the hog was happily foraging through the overgrown mess that is my garden. Someone mentioned it was a bit late for hedgehogs to still be active, they should have started to hibernate by then, and maybe the hog needed some food.
I googled to find out what i could feed my garden visitor and found out loads of information, including the notion that hedgehogs under 650g won't survive hibernation and won't live until Spring.
I caught and weighed the hedgehog. barely 300g.
Off it went to a local rehabilitator - don't try to just keep one in your shed or anything, get help from someone trained to care for wildlife. You can find help local to you here:
This one, a male, turned out to need vet help with a bad dose of worms, as well as feeding up through the winter.
The night after I sent the male off for expert care, another one turned up! A female this time, a bit heavier but still not big enough - so she went off too, to the same person.
Winter got cold, Spring arrived with cold, frost, and all sorts of weather. Then Easter happened.
Eventually, in May, I got the call! The hedgehogs were passed as fit and well and ok to come home.
Both were released into the garden, on separate nights so they could each find their own territory.
Now it's July, just, and I've seen a hedgehog in the garden a few times. There's only one at a time, but most nights there's one cleaning up under the bird table, coming for a drink from the bowl I keep out on the garden for my cats, and helping with the veg slug problem - much less of a problem with the night-time visitors.
Last night, I went out to deal with slugs round my courgettes and there was a hedgehog wearing a (not very) fetching orange necklace....
It had got its' head caught in a loop of this stuff:
Just a single square, over the hedgehog's head, caught on the spines. The plastic didn't seem to be cutting in, wasn't tight, just stuck. Left alone it would have caused a big problem, probably have been fatal - after all the time and effort put into saving the 2 hogs, I wasn't about to risk that! On with the gardening gloves, out with the scissors and I scooped up the hog, snipped the plastic and eased it off. The hog looked unharmed so I left it curled up on the grass where I could keep an eye on it, near bowls of food and water. Then I carried on with the slug mission! By the time I'd got to the veg patch and looked round, the hog had gone.
I'm assuming it's ok, but I'll be looking out for it tonight to be sure.
Please, folks, be careful when you dispose of rubbish, so many things we throw away can do so much harm to our wildlife. Hedgehogs are already declining, please don't be in a hurry to see them gone completely.

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