One night, early in January, we arrived home to see Harry snuffling around the recycling bin outside our back door. It was lovely to see hime again, it was getting cold and we expected that he would be hibernating by now but had carried on putting food out for him in case he popped out of bed for a snack. Unfortunately, Harry had quite a lot of ticks attached around his face – a sign that a hedgehog is not well – and something which would cause him discomfort. Although it is usually best not to interfere with wildlife, this was a sign that he needed help.
So we rushed and found a shoebox and popped him in there (wearing thick protective gloves of course). We gave him a small bowl of food and some water, which he promptly trod in and spilled all over the box. So we put him in one of our cat transport boxes in the bathroom with more food and water and called our local wildlife rescue service: East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance (WRAS). They were round within the hour and took a look at Harry, agreeing that he definitely needed help. He was put into a small carrier box and snuggled up before being taken away in the WRAS ambulance. The photograph above shows him being handled by the WRAS volunteer, (apologies for the lighting – I didn’t want to stress him out more so it had to be quick!).
Harry was given a casualty number so we could call and find out how he is doing. I phoned that week and was told he’d had his ticks removed and was also being given antibiotics to treat an ear infection.
This week I phoned again, and was told that he was doing well, had put on lots of weight (he always was a good nibbler) and was nearly ready to come home – he just needed to finish his course of antibiotics. The WRAS always try to return their patients to the wild – and in particular to the area they came from. Have a look at their website: http://wildlifeambulance.org which tells you about their work. They are not funded by the Government or the RSPCA – they rely on donations which can be given on their website.
Oh, one other thing – when I called this week to see how Harry was doing – I was told they had about 100 hedgehogs in for treatment at the moment!