One of our team, Helen, discovered a hedgehog trapped in a football net in the garden last month. She tells the tale here:
What started off as a normal weekend, quickly turned into a race to find help for an injured hedgehog and demonstrated the importance of ensuring our man-made pleasures do not interfere with, or cause harm to, wildlife.
My son was getting set to mow the lawn (shock..horror…a teenager willingly mowing the lawn!) when he came upon a poor hedgehog that had become entangled in the football net. We do normally ensure that the net gets packed away, but on this occasion (typical…) it wasn’t, and completely our fault. Cue some rushing around looking for scissors, we set about cutting the net that had ensnared the poor creature, who had by now curled up into a tight little ball. After some careful snipping, the little hedgehog seemed to be free of the netting so we put it in a box to monitor it and make certain that there was no more net wound around its legs. A few minutes passed before the hedgehog uncurled itself and began to move about and it was then that we noticed it wasn’t walking very well. That’s when we turned to the internet to search for ‘hedgehog SOS’!
The search result came up with a ‘Hedgehog Hospital’ based in Neston, Wirral. I contacted them via their Facebook page, and within minutes they had replied. I explained what had happened and that the poor thing didn’t seem to be recovering, so they asked me to bring it in to them straight away. A short car journey later and we were delivering the hedgehog into expert and loving care. To say that this ‘Hedgehog Hospital’ goes above and beyond is an understatement.
‘Our’ hedgehog was quickly coaxed out of its ball by caring hands as soon as we arrived, and immediately identified as a ‘girl’. We were then asked to name her and gave her the name of ‘Daisy’. This of course helps the ‘hospital’ keep track of who brought in which hedgehog and they provide regular updates so you can follow ‘your’ hedgehog’s progress on Facebook. If the hedgehog successfully recovers, there is the option to release it back into familiar territory.
Taking care of 80+ hedgehogs in need is by no means an easy task, and it’s thanks to a small network of volunteers, and a local vet, that this little hospital can carry on with it’s amazing work. From early morning to late evening, together they work tirelessly for no reward, and their focus remains solely on caring for and nursing poorly hedgehogs, along with rehabilitation and then release.
It has been eye-opening to see the stories behind each hedgehog that is taken in, from disturbed nests with tiny hoglets, to garden accidents with strimmers and such. There are many sad tales that don’t end well, but a wonderful success rate for those that do. I’m pleased to say that ‘our’ Daisy was successfully nursed back to health, after suffering an injury to her leg which had become infested with maggots. Ten days later we went to collect her. We were advised to release her at dusk, so at about 9:30pm we took her to the bottom of the garden where she was found and sat quietly and watched. After a few moments she emerged from the box and it was a joy to watch her tentatively sniff the air and then wander off down a path that she seemed quite familiar with!
In the nicest possible way, we hope that we don’t have to call upon the ‘Hedgehog Hospital’ again, and we are now twice as diligent in keeping a ‘hedgehog-friendly’ garden as we were all so devastated to know that our carelessness had caused harm.
This little ‘Hedgehog Hospital’ relies on generous donations of food along with items that you wouldn’t necessarily think of, such as blankets, warming pads, disinfectant, ointment etc. and they need all the help they can get. You can find their ‘Wishlist’ of supplies on Amazon, or make a call to their local pet shop to place an order for delivery. They are true ‘Unsung Heroes’ and deserve recognition for the amazing service they offer from the goodness of their hearts, and their love and passion for wildlife.