27th August 2012
Please don't Delay or DIY
A strange title for an entry but one with a serious message behind it. This year has been in the main an awful year for hedgehogs and indeed other wildlife and we are very grateful to anyone who takes the time to be aware and interested enough to intervene and call us when hedgehogs get into trouble. However there have been a significant number of cases where we have been contacted only after the hog has been observed in trouble for two or three days or after the hog has been attempted to be looked after by a well meaning member of the public.
By the time a hedgehog is observed in trouble or acting in an un-natural way for example out in daylight it is already in urgent need of care and attention. Any delay means that the likelihood of treatment being successful is diminished and a delay of a couple of days means that we struggle to help a now very poorly animal and in most cases it is too far gone and sadly results in the death of that creature.
Sometimes the temptation, well meaning as I am sure it is, is to bring the animal in and have a go at looking after it yourself. This may seem like a natural, caring and good thing to do but once again it often results in the death of that animal. So if you find an animal and in this case a hedgehog then please make sure that it goes straight away to somewhere like ourselves that has the knowledge, facilities and medical back up to be able to give the animal the best chance of receiving the right treatment and as a result best chance of survival.
Time is very important the sooner it gets the right help, the more happy endings there are.
This month has once again proved to be very busy with hedgehogs coming in pretty much every day. We have had a number of cases of hogs with severe pneumonia and sadly we lost one of these this morning after a hard battle to get the pneumonia under control. We have had a number of female hogs in for various reasons and a couple of them have ended up giving birth here, the last a mum who gave birth to a litter of five hoglets about a week ago. Mum and hoglets are doing well.
We are now starting to pass some of the hedgehogs that just need to gain weight on to some of our foster carers as we have had so many patients in with us reaching nearly forty hogs in at the same time in the hospital area.
More details will be posted soon including a number of event dates over September and news of a month long raffle with some fantastic prizes to be won including hotel stays, spa treatments and photography sessions.
The months fundraising push will end on the 30th with an event at Sanders Park in Bromsgrove organised by ourselves where a number of local animal rescue units and charities will be present for a day of fundraising, awareness and fun. The raffle winners will also be drawn at the event by a local dignitory (to be announced). So please do check the website or facebook page to find out more as we move to the end of August.
Finally to round off this entry the photographs of a small number of the hedgehogs to be released back into the wild this month. (top Bracken, top left Comfrey, middle right Mandrake, (all siblings who were a disturbed litter) bottom left Flo who suffered injuries from a dog attack, bottom Holly who was accidentally locked in a garage.
9th August 2012
Another Hoglet Feeding time
Well I thought after the drought of entries on here that I would add another short video of hoglet feeding time this time along with some commentary. Orphaned hoglets when they come in first start on a colostrum and milk replacement feeding regime. As time progresses and the hoglets gain weight they start to have blended puppy food, prescription food and a high calorie paste added to the milk until it replaces the milk entirely.
8th August 2012
It has been very busy here over the last month with large numbers of hoglets, juveniles and adult hedgehogs coming into us. At just over half way through the year we have
already nearly admitted as many patients as we did in the whole of last year.
Much of this is down to the unseasonably wet weather we have been experiencing
with its associated issues as well as some rescue units now having stopped
operating as well as I am sure that we are becoming more widely known. We have
found ourselves this year receiving many calls from all over the country and we
are spending a lot of time giving advice and referring casualties to other
rescue centres. One consequence of this has been that updates on the website
have suffered and have become less frequent, so here is a long overdue although
We have a large number of hoglets and juveniles in and they are still coming in. Many are now nearly at or have reached release weight and will be on their way back into the wild soon, however we still have enough juveniles and hoglets in to keep ourselves and our hoglet nanny Sue busy for the time being. We have due to the wet weather raised the release weight of juveniles this year to give the hogs the best possible
chance when we release them.
There have been large numbers of adult hedgehogs in as well suffering from a wide range of issues including; parasitic burdens, dog attacks, fox attacks, hogs stuck in ponds, one hog that was accidentally locked in a garage for a number of days, as well
as many just collapsed from starvation. One issue this year has been the
increase or rather explosion of hedgehogs suffering from thorny headed worm.
The hogs present with no identifiable issues but die very suddenly. We so far
have not had any confirmed cases but we do have a hedgehog in for autopsy as I
type to look for this issue. We have had a number of calls over the last month
where hogs have been observed and then popped under a hedge after some food.
Luckily we have recieved calls and we have been able to advise that the
hedgehog needs to be caught and brought into us. Please if a hedgehog is out in
daylight or seems to be in trouble call for help, don't just pop it under a
hedge with the best intentions as this is almost certain death for the creature.
Finally for this overdue update, a short video at the top of the entry of two of a litter of four hoglets at feeding time. These little guys are now at the 100 gram region and
are still being hand fed with some way to go before they are ready to go on
15th July 2012
Hoglets in Hats
There have been a number of hedgehogs coming and going here and hopefully I will update on some of those stories soon, however as always time is precious. These admissions have included a number of hoglets and today has seen another four hoglets come in from two separate litters. Two from the first litter were found in a garden, one was discovered in the middle of a path and later a second was found under some nearby bushes. The nest had been disturbed and there was no sign of mum or any other siblings. The next door neighbours dog had been pawing at one of the hoglets through the fence, however the owners of the garden where the nest was acted quickly and brought the hoglets in, gave them some warmth and called for help.
The second litter was found in a tarp that was being used to cover a motorbike in a garage. When the tarp was moved the owners found a mum and three hoglets hidden under it. They replaced the tarp and left the nest alone. On checking again this afternoon to make sure that everying was OK they discovered that the mum had abandoned the nest taking one of the litter with her and leaving two behind. The two abandoned hoglets came into us after a search for mum was made.
The four hoglets from the two litters are now in the incubator snuggled into separate woolly hats for comfort and have all now had a couple of feeds after warming up. All of them are only in the region of a week or so old, the lightest at 60 grams and the heaviest at 80 grams.
Hoglets should not be out and about on their own so if you see one please call for help. If you hear a prolonged mewing or squealing please check and see if it is an abandoned hoglet. Litters can have upto six hoglets so if you find a single hoglet always check the surrounding area for more displaced hoglets or the nest.
Mums will not leave their hoglets alone in the nest for long so if the squealing goes on for some time it is probable that the mum has either abandoned the nest or has been injured or killed and has not returned. Time is very important, bring the hoglets in and place them in a high sided box with something like a bobble hat or towel to hide in, place the box somewhere warm and quiet. If you have something like a microwaveable heat pad then warm this up, wrap it in a towel and put it in the box. Call for help straight away, time is critical in ensuring the best possible chance of survival. Do not try to feed a cold hoglet and never give them cows milk. Never intentionally disturb a nest (unless there is constant mewing or squealing), a mum can abandon or even kill her litter if disturbed.
If you accidentally disturb a nest with a mum and litter then immediately replace whatever was covering it. Watch the nest and listen out for prolonged mewing or squealing as mum may abandon. If you suspect she has then call for help immediately.
4th July 2012
Its hoglet time here at Willows Hedgehog Rescue, so a quick update on some of the latest admissions.
Billy from the previous entry is now over 300 grams and feeding for himself, sadly however Fitz didn't make it, his injuries and time exposed in the cold rain at his stage in life proved to be too much and he died on the first night.
Since then a litter of four hoglets have come in to us. Their nest was disturbed when a shed was being dismantled and mum and hoglets came into us. Mum carried on feeding them here for a few days but their progress was very slow and we had to intervene. Mum has been released and the hoglets hand raised. They have progressed quickly over the last few days and now all weigh over 200 grams. Mithras, Louis and Luna are pictured below, Eos was too interested in scamping around to be photographed.
Finally for this update the latest admission is little Norris. He was found on a path by a girl making her way home. Norris came in at only 120 grams, he was very malnourished and cold having been out in the rain. He was also covered in fly eggs and small tics. He has only been here for a day but is starting to put weight on and is a different little hoglet to when I collected him.
18th June 2012
Billy and Fitz
The last two days have seen two hoglets come into us here at Willows.
Billy came in after being found on a busy carpark. This lucky little hoglet was found on a hotel car park where 200 guests had being coming and going for fathers day. Unbelievably he had survived all this coming and going without sustaining any injury or even death. There was no signs of any other siblings or mum, so he will now be hand reared here hopefully growing up to be able to be released later on in the year.
Billy has gained weight overnight and is happily taking his feeds with a 5ml syringe as can be seen above. He is an inquisitive and huffy little fella so so far so good.
Fitz came in today after being found on the pavement by a school girl. Again no signs of where he may have come from and we can only presume due to his having sustained an injury to the nose that he had rolled down a 15ft bank adjacent to the path.
Fitz has suffered a split to the nose and he is having some breathing difficulties. He is now in our intensive life support unit receiving meds and a lot of tlc. Hand feeding with this little guy weiging in at just 100 grams is a slow process and the next 24 hours will see intensive support while we hope he will start to feed easier. Due to his injury to his nose feeding is slow with a 1ml syringe and tube to ensure that he does not choke.
At the moment he is not as responsive or alert as we might hope however he has taken oral medication and two feeds so far showing some signs of more activity after his second feed.
12th June 2012
As someone involved with the natural world and with rescuing wildlife you are not supposed to anthropomorphise animals or to talk to them but rather to be scientific and slightly removed. Some would say that we shouldn't intervene, let nature take it's course.
Well sadly we intervened a long time ago, thousands of years ago in fact by simply changing the nature of the landscape, clearing the 'wildwood' to create space for dwellings, farmland and for fear of what lived in the woods. Within living memory we have affected the habitats we created and the eco systems that rely on them by changing the way we manage the countryside or by simply not managing it at all as we no longer require the product. We developed as a mammal to have a large brain bringing with it emotions such as compassion, we also became technologically advanced allowing us to treat illnesses and injuries.
So it isn't surprising or to my mind unnatural that we use these attributes to try to conserve and rescue our native wildlife. We also need to, unless we want to loose what is left of our natural world. We created the situation and unless mankind is wiped off the face of the earth allowing nature to adapt and recover by itself we need to get involved.
Now of course our aim is not to make pets of wild animals. The least intervention and handling is at the core of what we do allowing the animal to behave as naturally as it can while it is being treated and rehabilitated. This minimises stress on the animal and allows it to be returned to the wild with it's natural distrust of us intact, just how it should be to have the best chance of survival. However that doesn't mean that animals don't seem to have characters, some grumpy, some mischievous, some inquisitive, some shy and it doesn't mean that you don't form attachments to them.
Dan pictured at the top of this post is our resident aged blind hedgehog. He has been with us for a year now in the secure garden, he can't be released into the wild as he mainly comes out in daylight and would very soon get into trouble. He lives a seemingly happy life, yes the area he roams now is less that he would in the wild, but he shows no signs of stress and forages in the secure garden able to get around easily following the routes he has made. We don't interfere with him allowing him to remain wild, he does come in now and then for a check up and a weigh to make sure he is healthy but that is all. I do talk to Dan when I venture into the garden, just to make sure he knows that I am there and he will head off to another part of the garden. We do worry about him at times such as; waiting for him to come out of hibernation, when the weather is really bad and he doesn't venture out for a while, and sometimes just because he is old.
To get involved or not, well look at Dans photo and you decide.
27th May 2012
A lot of hedgehogs have been coming in over the last few weeks, too many to update on everyone. A lot have gone back into the wild and a couple into secure gardens, again more than I can update on, but here are a few for all the hedgehog fans out there.
The first story has to be Meemo. Below is Meemo as he came into us. He was found on his back in a garden back earlier in the year. When I got there he was writhing around unable to right himself in the middle of a lawn. On examination back here he proved to be very unwell indeed, he was dehydrated and had no motor control at all. If put onto his tummy he would try to walk but his legs flailed in all directions and he would flip over onto his back. Xray proved that he had not suffered a spinal injury and he was subsequently treated for neurological issues. He started to gain weight however motor control was a serious issue. We thought long and hard about his chances of recovery and after a long conversation with St Tiggywinkles decided to try a different course of medication. Slowy, slowly things improved and we had to slowly teach Meemo to walk again, with at first short excursions outside these becoming longer as he gained strength and control. Now after some time Meemo can get around fine, and although a little quirky at times he is a healthy and mobile hedgehog. Meemo is a little miracle, below is Meemo not long after admission and below that is Meemo now.
Next we have Elrond. Elrond came in in a right state as many hedgehogs have over the last few weeks. Like some others he showed no signs of specific illnesses or injury and we can only put some of these cases down to the long heavy spell of rain after a bright early start to the year.
Elrond is an old hedgehog and he came in near to starving and totally dehydrated. His skin was hanging off him and he came in at only 600 grams. Elrond left us today at 1.1kg and a totally different hedgehog.
Apollo below came in after being found out during daylight, he was dehydrated and covered in fly eggs a sign that he had been immobile and in trouble for some time. He proved to be suffering from lungworm, a particularly nasty parasite which easily and quickly if not treated turns into pneumonia. He has been on medication and has now just come off after becoming quite ill. He is now on the up and hopefully should be leaving us to go back into the wild soon.
Oak below came into us in similar circumstances to Elrond, he was found out in daylight very dehydrated and hungry during the very long period of poor weather we have recently experienced. If left in the wild he would have died, however after fluid therapy, time on a heat pad and good square meals he slowly improved and left us recently as a healthy and happy hedgehog.
Sadly it isn't possible to write about everyone and the above is just a taster of some of the cases in over the last few weeks. Below are a small selection of photographs of other hogs that have been in with us over April and May. In order: Tom, Alex, Cinnamon, Lucky, Ginger and Oscar.
Finally above another Higgy does a job picture, this time Higgy our roving hedgehog gets to be a Paramedic!
Please note hedgehogs should not be out in daylight, the hedgehogs above have had their photos quickly taken for our records during the day once well and ready for release. If you find a hedgehog out during daylight please call for help and advice. Higgy our roving hedgehog is a special case of course!
14th May 2012
Hogs, Roadshows, Schools and Higgy.
It has been a busy time since the last update on here. We have been redesigning the hospital area to cope with the increase in numbers of hedgehogs coming into us as well as to allow us to be able to operate more efficiently. There is more to do but the new racking systems to house the hedgehog accommodation have already made the space more efficient along with some new hedgehog housing.
The numbers of hedgehogs coming into us in the early part of this year has already increased on previous years with many struggling hedgehogs coming in over the last few weeks. Many of the hogs have not presented with injury or any recognisable illness and we can only put many of these cases of hypothermia and starving hedgehogs down to the very wet and unsettled weather we have been experiencing.
The years roadshows have started with us out and about at events promoting our work and the plight of our native hedgehog. The last week has been very busy with six events over eight days to coincide with Hedgehog Week. This has been a great opportunity to meet and talk to a lot of people as well as bringing in some much needed funding from donations. Many thanks to all that came over to see us at the roadshows, we appreciate your support and would not be able to continue our work without your kindness.
Education is an important part of our work and the last two weeks have seen myself go into schools to deliver talks and education to classes on our natural world and hedgehogs in particular, A big thank you to the schools involved and to the children who all proved to be knowledgeable and interested. There are more school visits booked in during the year and we are working on plans to work with schools on some larger projects. More information on that to come later on in the year.
Finally a new little feature. Willow of course is our mascot and appears on the site, on our uniform, stationary etc. However we now also have Higgy our roadshow mascot who is travelling around with us and has proved to be popular with children and adults alike. Higgy will over the year be seeing how many jobs and things he can do. So far over hedgehog week he has managed to drive an ambulance, drive a train and drive various classic cars. Photos of Higgies adventures will pop up on here from time to time and who knows he may even get his own page!
Pictures: Top - Higgy, beep beep, mover over Mr Toad, Higgy is here, Middle Higgy the train driver, bottom Higgy leads the marching band.
13th March 2012
Bella, Piggy, Clover, Freda & Releases
Bella who has settled in and has had all of the tics removed has now been followed today by Piggy the latest admission. Bella should be back on her way in the wild by the weekend at the latest as she has no other issues and is a good weight.
Piggy (pictured above) as named by the lady that found him was heard squealing in her garden last night. He was found with one of his back legs trapped in a log and wire role type garden border. He was freed and as it was very late last night she took him in and kept him safe until she could ring around this morning to find help. After calling the British Hedgehog Preservation Society she was referred to us and brought him over.
He doesn't seem to have suffered any tissue damage and he can move the leg without any issues including walking on it. So he is at present after some anti-inflammatory medicine settling into the rescue area and he will be observed over the next few days.
Clover has now started to make her journey back to the wild acclimatising in a secure garden for a few days before release and this weekend a number of the hedgehogs that have been acclimatising in our pre-release pens will be on their way ready for Spring.
Finally a report and photograph of one of the hoglets from last summer who was released this autumn.
Freda was one of three hoglets hand raised here after a dog attack on their nest which frightened off the mum and resulted in the death of the fourth sibling. Freda was released into the wild with the people whose garden we released her from putting in a hedgehog home for us so she had a home if she wanted to keep frequenting the garden.
Well she did and she decided to hibernate in the hedgehog home and was caught on camera on the 12th of this month after waking up from hibernation. It is great to have reports of hedgehogs we have rescued doing well and even better when we get to see a photo like this. Many thanks to Don and Sue for letting us know and sending us the picture above.
10th March 2012
Releases and Arrivals.
She will spend a couple of days with us while we make sure we have got rid of all of the tics and then she should be back on her way as otherwise she seems perfectly fine.
Bella is pictured below.
Some have been moved into the pre-release pens acclimatising ready for release and we have been ringing around people who have brought hedgehogs in to make sure that everything is ready for release in a couple of weeks. Reports are coming in of more hedgehog activity in the wild and the forecast is mild so the signs are there that it is now time to get these guys back out into the wild.
We have started to get some school bookings in for this year and some repeat bookings and at the moment I am starting to prepare the educational material for these educational visits. We are also preparing some proposals for some quite exciting longer term educational projects at the moment.
Our first event of the year is at the end of this month where we will be at Webbs of Wychbold over the weekend of the 31st of March and the 1st of April. We do hope that many of the visitors to the web site will be able to come along and say hello.
Finally for today, a slightly more camera willing Barney who will soon be moving out into the pre-release pens to acclimatise before release.
The photograph at the top of this entry is of Tinker one of last years autumn juveniles who is now showing definite signs of wanting to be on her way.
5th March 2012
I've now added link buttons on the left to all of the areas on the site as well as adding some new sections and revamping others. New are the About Us and Support Us pages along with a new photo album with photos that haven't appeared in the main content showing some of the hedgehogs that have been treated here. All of the pages now have new header banners and there are even some pics of hogs on the left column.
There are also now on the new Support Us page ways you can help us including EasyFunding and a Donation button, of course money is always a difficult subject but the reality is that we need to fund raise to continue in what are difficult times with larger numbers of hedgehogs comming in.
We are also looking for someone to voluntarily help us at our awareness and fund-raising events. If you think you may be able to help with setting up and manning the stall then please do get in contact with us.
There can't be an entry without a photograph, so today's is Dan our resident blind hedgehog, out in daylight because he doesn't know what time of day it is, but safe, healthy and secure.
3rd March 2012
Albert & Clover
Updates today on Albert & Clover, Albert coming in this year and Clover one of last years autumn juveniles.
Albert (photo right as he looks now) came in after being found wandering down a road during daylight. On examination I found that Albert was a quite aged hedgehog who had lost a lot of weight and was rather down on his luck.
He showed no signs of any illness but he looked awful with very dull spines and very saggy skin. After a couple of days of extra fluids, vitamins and plenty of food he settled in and started to look a little better.
He weighed 700 grams when he came in but it was obvious that he had been a hog well over 1000 grams and he proved this in piling on the weight and eating voraciously.
He is now in the region of 1150 grams and is sprightly if old. He looks a totally different hedgehog even though he has some bald patches where his spines are sparse and other signs that tell of his age.
Finally for this entry is Clover. Clover is one of four autumn juveniles that have all overwintered with us. Clovers siblings; Nutmeg, Ginger & Cinnamon are all in adjacent pens in the rescue area with Ginger and Cinnamon deciding to hibernate through the winter leaving Clover & Nutmeg well awake and up for mischief.
Their mum Holly who came in to us covered in chemicals raised them all here at the rescue unit in the pre-release pen, we simply kept an eye on things to make sure all was well, and she was released in late autumn / early winter before the cold nights arrived. Her brood were all too light for release this late in the year and in fact Clover struggled after she was weaned to put on weight. In the wild she would probably have been the runt of the litter and have died being half the weight of her siblings, however here she had the chance to survive. She is now a healthy hedgehog and she will be released this spring.
A couple of quick thank-yous today.
Thanks to Mr & Mrs Lewis for sending us a 6kg bag of ArkWildlife Pro Hedgehog food, last year we rescued and successfully released two hedgehogs from their garden.
Thanks also to Mr Mike Nichols. Mike made a generous donation of 20kg of ArkWildlife Pro Hedgehog food along with paper towels and hay. Mike's late mother Mrs Vera Nichols loved wildlife and Mike helps wildlife and wildlife charities in memory of his mother.
Thank you all for your generous donations, it is much appreciated and helps us to keep doing what we do.
Finally, please check out the Events Page as we are now starting to book in and pop up events and locations we will be attending this year.