WEEKEND WEB: Rescue mission for a hungry hedgehog
TRISH TAKES FIVE: By Trish Burgess
Our sleepy, prickly friend was found curled up in an old plastic bag in our garage last Thursday. We couldn’t understand how it had managed to sneak in and we had no idea how long it had been there.
I did some research and discovered hedgehogs usually hibernate until March or April. Had ours been in the garage for some time or had it woken up and shuffled in, searching for food?
Good old Google came to the rescue. I came across Dowsdale Hedgehog Sanctuary which is based near Whaplode Drove. I rang the contact number and they called me back. Help was at hand.
First we had to weigh the little creature to see if it was under-nourished. Anything less than about 600g might need some assistance. We carefully placed our hedgehog onto a towel and popped him on the kitchen scales. About 450g.
The advice was to put the hedgehog in a high-sided box and allow it to continue sleeping. The sanctuary offered to pick it up later on in the afternoon and take care of it for us.
In the intervening hours we became very fond of our little pal. Dougie decided to call him Stuart after the Scottish rugby player, Stuart Hogg. Well it was either that or Sonic. We kept an eye on little Stuart or, as I now called him affectionately, Stuart Little.
His rescuer came at tea-time and we waved goodbye to Stuart, sending him on his way with some money so the charity could provide him with his board and lodgings.
On Sunday morning, we were sent an update about Stuart’s condition. She was doing well. She? Oh Stuart, you’re a little lady! She had been given some fluids as she was a bit dehydrated but she was eating properly. When our hedgehog is fully recovered, she will be returned to us, to be released in our garden where she belongs.
Of course now we had a dilemma: we needed a new name. Dougie decided, if she couldn’t be Stuart, then why not call her Mary Stuart. Our little queen had been locked up in a prison but now she was rescued, ready to fight another day, unlike her unfortunate namesake.
In a few days I’ve learned a lot about hedgehogs, their habits and what to do if you find one during the day when they ought to be sleeping. The Dowsdale Hedgehog Sanctuary website has a wealth of information and you can contact them for advice. As the Hedgehog Awareness Week begins on May 6, this is the ideal time to learn a little more about these gorgeous garden creatures.
There are a number of ways to support the charity, including donations of items such as towels and food. For more information check out their website: www.dowsdalehedgehogsanctuary.co.uk
I’ll keep you posted on Mary Stuart’s condition and hopefully she’ll be back in Holbeach soon after her little spa break at the sanctuary.