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Although hedgehog rescue continues all year round, we are heading rapidly towards one of the busiest times of year, early spring. The reasons for this are varied but whatever time of year it is, the same rules apply if you should find one.
Prickles in a Pickle, hedgehog rescue charity in Stoke Fleming are here to give you the lowdown...
Any hedgehog found out during the day is not behaving normally. They are nocturnal animals and nocturnal animals are out in the darker hours. They do not sunbathe or lie out on the lawn at any time, neither do they race around in circles. Abnormal behaviour indicates that there is something wrong. Secure the hedgehog in a cardboard box with a towel, or similar, bring into the house, do not leave outside, and fill a hot water bottle with hand hot water, wrap it and make sure the hedgehog has enough space to move away from the heat if it needs to. Use oven gloves, gardening gloves or a towel to pick it up. Always wash your hands after handling any animal. Call you nearest rescue or the BHPS (British Hedgehog Preservation Society) for advice. It is better to err on the side of caution and get it checked out, rescues will not take it in if they have no need to.
Hedgehogs rarely have fleas, if they do, they are species specific and will not infest your pets or house.
Spring is also the time for us to start rearranging our gardens, digging, planting taking down old sheds and decking. If you find a hedgehog hibernaculum (nest) if you can cover it back up and leave alone. If not, secure Mum immediately, treat as before, and put the babies in with her. Some rescues say not put them together, but we have never found any issues with this. Please don’t use it as a photo opportunity and invite neighbours, round to have a look. This will stress Mum out and may well have disastrous consequences. Take them all indoors where they are safe and call a rescue.
Please be careful when using strimmers, mowers and garden forks, the injuries can be pretty awful, fly strike happens really quickly and even when maggots are visible the hedgehog will often survive if it gets to a rescue quick enough.
If you have a garden pond or pool, please ensure that anything that gets in can get out again, ramps are best, have a look at the BHPS website for ideas.
Please do not use slug pellets or leave poison down for less welcome visitors. There are some good sonic devices now that will put them off but the birds and hedgehogs wont mind. If you have a hedgehog visiting your garden you will not have need for slug pellets anyway.
Lastly, our wildlife is depending more and more on our gardens for haven and sustenance. Link your gardens with a 13cm gap in the fences and boundaries, leave a heavy shallow dish of water out all year round, fill it with pebbles and cover them with water so the insects can safely drink too.
Remember that all rescues are run by volunteers and rely on them for help with looking after our patients and transporting them. Rescues are few and far between and you will not find one on every street corner, if you can help with bringing it to us or part way, we really do find this a great help.
Enjoy gardening with hedgehogs they really are a gardener’s best friend.
If you'd like more information, would like to make a donation or would like to contact Prickles in a Pickle you can visit their website here.
Images credit: Prickles in a Pickle
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* The information contained on this page is correct to the best of our knowledge, if you notice anything that you know to be incorrect or misleading, please contact us.