|Image borrowed from The Telegraph!|
We often catch a glimpse of some of the hedgehogs which roam our gardens and the woodland at night. They are surprisingly noisy little critters and certainly have quite a turn of speed. I love having them around the place.
Yesterday I noticed a small heap of leaves piled up near the entrance to the woodland - the leaves appeared to gently rise and fall - inside was a hedgehog. A tiny little chap, who remained fast asleep even when I lifted him up and weighed him on my kitchen scales - a mere 248g - and he needs to be at least 600g if he is to survive hibernation.
Time to call Hedgehog Care for advice!
I explained the situation and Elaine, the amazing human dynamo who runs the hedgehog hospital, advised me to take the little creature to her immediately, or he would surely die.
Elaine gave him the once over and said that he was very cold and had lots of fly eggs on him. She immediately set to work plucking and snipping them out because as he begins to warm up they will develop into maggots.
Once clear of them he will have an injection of antibiotic and will gradually be warmed, which should then stimulate his appetite. He'll need a lot of care and very regular feeding and will be in intensive care for a while.
We agreed on the name 'Apple' for this little hoglet. Fingers crossed that he makes it.
Elaine has been running Hedgehog Care for well over thirty years, she cares for over a thousand hedgehogs each year - all the more remarkable when you learn that she is over 75 years old and works around the clock caring for the underweight hedgehogs, the sick ones and the injured ones. She relies on her pension and donations.
Because she is beginning to feel her age she has cut back on her workload - she only takes telephone calls from 7am until 10pm....!
I feel some fundraising coming on. I left a donation, but Apple and the hundreds of others in her care need food, medication, heat, and lots of tlc.
If Apple makes it through the winter, he'll come back to Parsonage Cottage in the Spring. Otherwise we'll take on another youngster which needs a good home.
Hang on in there, Apple.