Just as the winter weather was setting in a member of the public bought a small hedgehog into our Stratford upon Avon surgery. He had been found in the middle of a car park during daylight hours. At just 97g he would not have survived the winter.Denni, one of our nurses, took him in. Over winter she kept him warm and well fed. His favourite food was meal worms but as these have little nutritional value they were rationed to encourage him to eat his healthier hedgehog mix. Over the winter he has grown big and strong, now weighing in at a healthy 700g.

As spring arrived, Heston was ready to be released. For safety reasons Heston was unable to be released back to where he was found. Thanks to Kyra at Hedgehog Friendly Town, Heston was released in a safe and hedgehog friendly environment.

Hedgehog Friendly Town work hard fostering hedgehogs and finding safe release sites. It is important to find out if other hedgehogs live in the area before releasing more on that site. If there are no resident hedgehogs already, there is probably a good reason for this and so an alternative site is found.

Unfortunately the hedgehog population is currently under threat. Here are a few ways you can help hedgehogs in your area.

  1. Leave areas of wilderness in your garden where hedgehogs can snuffle for insects. Place a small hedgehog house to provide a safe place for them to hibernate during winter. A small hole in your fence will allow visiting hedgehogs to pass through. In the past people used to mark visiting hedgehogs with a little paint so they know if they return but the paint may be harmful and also makes it easier for predators to spot them.
  2. Leave out a water bowl for them to drink from. Dusk is a good time to scatter food for them to eat. Avoid bread and milk as hedgehogs are lactose intolerant and these foods will make them ill. They like eating dog and cat food – wet or dry. They also like a few meal worms. Autumn and winter is a good time to leave out food for struggling hedgehogs.
  3. heston the hedgehogKyra and Heston on the release day

    Hedgehogs are nocturnal. If you see a hedgehog during the day then it may need help. Using gardening gloves or a thick towel, carefully pick him up and take him to a wildlife rescue centre. Hedgehogs are also good at getting stuck in litter so pick up litter and if you do see a hedgehog in trouble, please transport him to a veterinary centre or wildlife rescue centre.

  4. If you are planning on having a bonfire, please always check for hedgehogs before lighting it. Unfortunately hedgehogs sometimes move into the heap before you light it and are then severely injured by the flames or worse.We would like to wish Heston and his fellow hedgehogs all the best for the future. It is also important to check for hedgehogs before using strimmers on long grass or vegetation.


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