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Wildlife rescue’s ‘help save our baby hedgehogs’ plea to gardeners

1 year ago

By The Guide Liverpool

Wildlife rescue’s ‘help save our baby hedgehogs’ plea to gardeners

Freshfields Animal Rescue has appealed to gardeners to take extra care to help save baby hedgehogs from being orphaned this summer.

The hot weather means lots of people will be tackling lawn mowing and strimming, but the centre’s wildlife unit says that can be disastrous for tiny hoglets.

“People are starting to go into full summer gardening mode and unfortunately what we’re finding is that not everyone is hedgehog aware,” says Debbie Hughes from Freshfields, “so they’re still not checking for hedgehogs before they strim or mow.

“What happens then is the mum will be scared so she will run off and then either abandon the babies because she’s too terrified to go back, or she can’t find her way back. That’s why we have so many very very young hogs being brought in at the moment.”

The unit currently has 46 little ones in its care, being hand-reared and fed through the night with a syringe to get them strong enough to fend for themselves.

“When they arrive most are no bigger than the palm of your hand, and the cut-off point is 600g which they need to be in order to survive on their own,” says Debbie.

“But we’ve done incredibly well so far this year, we’ve successfully released 65 who’ve been looked after, rehabilitated and brought up to a healthy weight.”

The wildlife unit is the fastest growing area of Freshfields Animal Rescue’s work and it’s doubled its intake since 2016.

That does show people are becoming more wildlife aware, says Debbie, and they realise that the centre is somewhere they can take injured or abandoned wildlife, knowing they’ll get the best medical treatment and care.

“That’s great because we can only do what we do in partnership, but often people are still unsure whether or when to intervene when they spot hedgehogs.

“Our advice is, if you see a hog in the middle of the day in bright sunshine that’s not a good sign. It means that their nest has been disturbed so that’s when you should find something like a shoebox, put them in there, keep them warm, move them to a safe place away from any predators and then ring us and get advice.

“If you find a nest before you do your gardening that’s brilliant, don’t disturb it.”

Debbie says there are a number of ways that, in addition to being extra careful, people can make their gardens more hedgehog friendly.

“Lots of people have decking and paving, but we need to rewild our gardens a bit more to make a safe home for hedgehogs. We’re not saying revamp your whole garden, but you could just set aside a little corner and make it a welcoming home for hogs, maybe even make a little hedgehog house with your kids as a project.

“We’ve actually worked with some streets who’ve created a hedgehog highway so the hogs can go from one garden to another.

“Then just put a bowl of water out, and some food at night – they like meaty cat food, not fish flavoured.”

With numbers of orphaned baby hogs due to increase over the next few weeks, Freshfields is also appealing for donations of bedding to keep them cosy.

So much is urgently needed that there’s now a donation bin outside Freshfields Liverpool site where shredded A4 paper and old towels can be dropped off between 9.30am and 4pm. The centre also has an Amazon wish list HERE where supporters can buy hedgehog biscuits for the little ones to give them a balanced nutritious diet.

“Hedgehog numbers have fallen dramatically over the past few decades and we really want to build those numbers up again and help save this species for future generations,” adds Debbie.

“On behalf of the hogs, we really appreciate all the support!”

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