Hungry and thirsty hedgehogs are waking up
West Midlands Hedgehog Rescue (WMHR) are urging everyone in Wombourne to place shallow bowls of water and food in their gardens to ensure that our prickly friends have something tasty to tuck into after their long winter nap.
Joan Lockley from WMHR told me, “I want it shouted from the rooftops that we should put out water for our night-time visitors. We fill our birdbaths, but often forget ground feeding creatures like hedgehogs.”
This feature actually came about because of an incident which occurred on Common Road this week. A hedgehog was seen running around on the verge at around 8am on Thursday morning.
Now, hedgehogs shouldn’t be active in daylight, and if they are that is a sure sign that something is wrong.
We are used to seeing hedgehogs in our garden, but never in daylight.
So, on went the gloves and we carefully pick up our spiky friend and placed him into our garden. He ran around once again, best described as being in a bit of a ‘tizzy’.
Hatty (which had now become his name) was placed in a box, out of full sun and with newspapers, some leaves, food and water. The box was covered with a towel and he went to sleep.
Clearly something was wrong, so we contacted West Midlands Hedgehog Rescue. Joan advised that the hedgehog would need to be collected and brought to her. Her volunteer force spring to action.
Within two hours volunteers arrived to collect Hatty and transport him to WMHR HQ.
What was wrong?
Joan quickly let me know via email that Hatty had arrived and appeared not to be injured. It was decided to let him settle and then examine him further.
We were thinking about Hatty all night. By this morning we had an update. Hatty was well but was ….blind!
So that explains why he was rushing around, unable to find a scent he knew.
Now, you may think that being blind was bad news for a hedgehog. Well, not this lucky fella!
Hatty’s first bit of luck was that we found him running around the verge at the side of Common Road, which can get busy during rush hour. His second piece of luck was that he was taken to WMHR.
Joan advises that Hatty will be kept in a ‘safe garden’ with other disabled hedgehogs. There they are kept safe and lead a very happy live making new hedgehogs! The offspring are then released, increasing the population of this most exquisite of endangered animals.
How Wombourne can help
I asked Joan what we, the people of Wombourne can do to help encourage hedgehogs into our gardens, she advises ..
1. Put out water and cat biscuits – this is the normal time of year for hedgehogs to come out of hibernation and they need to fill up quickly.
2. Shelter for hedgehogs – make sure your garden has plenty of sheltered such as bushes and shrubs.
3. Leave holes in fences – hedgehogs can cover up to 2 square miles a night looking for food and so easy passage through gardens is really important. Make the holes the size of a small melon.
4. Cover pools and ponds – fish ponds and swimming pools are death traps for hedgehogs, if you have one, make sure it is easy for the hedgehogs to escape.
5. Don’t use slug pellets! – These are poisonous to hedgehogs and other creatures and should not be used. If you have hedgehogs in your garden, you won’t have a problem with slugs and snails!
What do do if we find a hedgehog in distress?
Should you come across a hedgehog in distress, note they should not be active in daytime Joan says, “DON’T WAIT'”! Wearing gloves carefully pick up the hedgehog, place it in a cat carrier or box with some hay, shredded newspaper, old clothes, towels etc… and then phone a rescue centre”
By using the above information we can help stop the declined of this once familiar animal which has declined an estimated 50% since the year 2000.
Come on Wombourne, let’s make our village the 5-star place for hedgehogs to be!
You help is needed
You can support the work of West Midlands Hedgehog Rescue bu visiting their website at https://www.wmhr.org.uk
Follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/wmhoglethero/
Support their fundraising (details on the web page) and donate via their Amazon Wishlist .