Monday, August 12, 2013

Nursing Hedgehogs

We have a family of hedgehogs that live close by. We often see them at night foraging around the garden and we have been blessed to occasionally encounter them during the day. Daylight sightings are unusual and in most cases hedgehogs come out during day if they are poorly. I am pleased to say that up until now, all our daylight encounters have just been because our hedgehogs appear to be hungry and they have been healthy and happy :o) See OHC Mammal Study 1 and Miss Tiggy-Winkle is Back!

Sadly, late Saturday afternoon, Miss V-L noticed a rather lifeless looking hedgehog lying on the lawn. Initially we thought the cats had attacked it but I remembered that when the cats had encountered Miss Tiggy-Winkle earlier on in the year they were rather weary and avoided her for the most part. 

On closer inspection we noticed that the hedgehog was still breathing. I picked it up and had a closer look - no obvious injuries, but the poor creature was clearly not well at all. His little eyes remained closed and as I picked him up he tried to roll into a ball but lacked the energy to do so.

We wrapped him up in a towel, and placed him on a hot water bottle inside a box. Then it was all hands on deck to trying to find how we could help this little fellow. I contacted the 'British Hedgehog Preservation Society' and spoke to a lady who asked a couple of questions, turned out that on closer inspection, our hedgehog was riddled with fly eggs. We were advised to take a soft toothbrush and brush these eggs away, then contact the RSPCA for help as all the vets were closed by this time.

Poor little thing! Even though he was so poorly, the brush must have tickled a bit because as we brushed his little back legs tried to scratch in response. A good sign I thought.

The RSPCA officer arrived in due course and took our hedgehog to their emergency vet for treatment. I have to say that she did say that he was in a bad way, but at least he would not have to suffer if he was beyond help as if necessary they would put him down rather than let him die slowly. 

So a sad story - although I am hopeful that all is well. I guess our contacts with nature are not always going to be pleasant or happy. Through this experience we have learnt more about hedgehogs - this time what to do with a sick one. Always learning, always experiencing, always engaging. Nature has many lessons to teach us :o)

Blessings to you all...


  1. Oh my, do so hope that he is going to make it. While living outside of Dublin we found a little teen aged fella laying in the grass belly up. We took him to the village vet. He got rid of the fly eggs, gave him a shot of antibiotics and off we went. He must have been concussed because he would walk in circles! Fed him raw burgers and worms that the kids found. One late afternoon we couldn't find Henri, looked and looked and finally found him in the ashes of the fire place! He only bit me once when I wasn't feeding him fast enough! At night he sounded like a herd of buffalo running through the house! Finally we had a farewell party out in the woods and let Henri free. He paused looked back for a final goodbye and off he ran into the shrubbery! What a neat experience for us. Hope you have a great August and know you did a kind deed by rescuing your little fellow, Mary Anne

  2. Mary Anne, I was so delighted to read your comment!!! You have kindled hope in my heart for our little hedgehog. I did ask the RSPCA if they would bring him back if he survived as he has lots of family around! She didn't commit :o) Just after I posted this post, my girls spotted a teenage hedgehog (again broad daylight!) snuffling for food in the back garden. It was very healthy I am pleased to say!

    Thank you for leaving your lovely account of your own experience with our British wildlife :o)


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