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Interesting Talk On Hedgehogs

On a miserable winter’s afternoon in March we gathered to hear about hedgehogs.  Chris Mclaren’s enthusiasm for them got us all interested in the dedicated work she carries out rescuing injured and abandoned animals.  Hedgehogs are not cuddly creatures but are endearing characters and we were given a wealth of information about their lives and the hazards they face.

There were two things she wanted us to remember, so for those who were not able to come they were :

  1. A hedgehog wandering around in the day time is either sick or has been injured and needs help, as they are nocturnal animals.
  2. Hedgehogs should not be fed cow’s milk even though they like it as it gives them diarrhoea and they can die of dehydration.  Their natural food is worms, slugs, snails and insects. Chris feeds them cat food or if feeding ones in the wild of friends gardens she has a wonderful mix of peanuts sunflower seed hearts dried fruits and honey, which sounds rather appetising and avoids cats and dogs stealing the food.

She had some gruesome tales of injuries and maltreatment to these prickly animals but her knowledge and patience brings them back to health and then they are released back into the wild.  The few which have disabilities are released into ‘safe gardens’ of her friends where they are given extra food and shelter.  Chris is realistic enough to realise that sometimes the injuries are so great that it is kinder to put the hedgehog to sleep.

The predators of hedgehogs other than humans are badgers which are the only animals strong enough to uncurl a hedgehog and then leave a precision trimmed circle of skin and spines.  So that rules us out having hedgehogs as they would just become snacks for the badgers that live in our woods at Holystone.

It was reassuring to learn that they are very good at climbing and can swim but we must be careful that covers are not left off drains and that ponds with steep sides have ramps for creatures to climb out, and the same applies to cattle grids.  A list of 12 main hazards was handed out with the design details for a ‘hedgehog home’.

Chris and her Mum set up a stall to raise funds for all the feed and drugs used.  Many of the items they had made themselves, what a dedicated person.

If you find an unhappy hedgehog Chris will be able to give you help on 0191 4886420