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  • Animal charity shares best ways to help hedgehogs

    Danielle Thompson

    ANIMAL specialists have revealed their top tips for helping hedgehogs.

    According to the latest research by the conservation charity, People's Trust for Endangered Species, the number of hedgehogs in gardens and one of numbers killed on roads show an overall decline of around 50% since the turn of the century. The figures suggest the prickly creatures are disappearing more rapidly in the countryside, as hedgerows and field margins are lost to intensive farming – but that there are signs that populations in urban areas may be recovering.

    The Champion were contacted by a reader from High Park last week, who wants to warn others not to use slug pellets as the poisoned slugs and snails are being eaten by the hogs, who also eat the pellets – and are dying 'brutal, agonising deaths.'

    Now Sally McDerby from Woodlands Animal Sanctuary in Holmeswood has shared ways to help animals.

    She said: “Our mantra is, 'A hog out in the day is never okay' and our team lives by it! They are nocturnal mammals and as such should not be out during the day. There is an exception when female hedgehogs, with babies, may be out during the day looking for food for their young.  If this is the case, the hog you see will be moving purposefully around, and you would always be advised to leave them well alone and not to disturb them in any way, as this could cause them to abandon their babies. 

    “A hog who is out in the day will more than likely be moving slowly, appear wobbly, could be lying down and not curling up, even when you approach.

    “Other signs to look for include obvious wounds or injuries. This could mean that there is blood visible or a limb may not look normal or could be at an odd angle. A hog with numerous ticks and or fly eggs is also a very poorly hog and in cases like this, the best course of action would be to pick the hog up with a towel or blanket and place it in a box on a hot water bottle/old plastic drinks bottle filled with hot water, wrapped in a towel.  Then take the hog to your nearest veterinary practice. As a hedgehog is classed as wildlife, there will be no charge to you for taking the hog to the vets. It can then be treated swiftly and accurately by the veterinary surgeon which greatly increases its chances of survival, and ultimately a successful release. 

    “When a hog has been successfully treated by the vets, the practice will contact Woodlands, who will then take the hog to continue rehabilitation and then release it from one of our approved soft release sites.”

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