Baby hedgehogs saved from bonfire are now in care

Rescuers rushed to the aid of four 10 day old baby hedgehogs found in a bonfire at Piltdown on Thursday 14th June 2012. Volunteer rescuer Kathy Martyn from Uckfield rushed to the address at Piltdown after a local resident was about to light a bonfire but stopped just in time after hearing little squeaking sounds coming from the garden debris.

The property owner had been clearing vegetation from their garden on Wednesday, and piled the material up to form a bonfire. Today they were about to light the fire when they discovered that during the gardening work they have disturbed a nest of baby hedgehogs.

"Once we knew how long they had been away from their mum we made the rescue a priority call and rescuer Kathy was on site with 15 minutes of the original call" said Rescue Co-ordinator Trevor Weeks of East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service.

"When I got there I found four approximately 10 day old hedgehogs. They were very cold and clearly had been away from their mum for a while and needed to come into care. We try to reunite baby hedgehogs back with their mum where possible, but they had been away for too long and their nest cleared too long ago. I placed them on to a heat pad cuddled them up in a small carrier with soft bedding and they were then taken to one of WRAS's experienced hedgehogs rearer Monica Russell based in Eastbourne" said Kathy Martyn.

WRAS is praising the finders for their quick action in calling and for being vigilant before lighting the bonfire. Hedgehogs will be giving birth at the moment and throughout the summer and into the Autumn too.

"We always advise that if you are clearing a garden check the area first for nests, especially in borders where there is long grass, but also in pampas grass, and other thick vegetation. When dismantling sheds or greenhouses be prepared to replace the base in case there are creatures nesting underneath. Quite often mummy hedgehogs will move their young so by checking after a few days the nest may be empty, but be prepared to leave the base in place till the baby hedgehogs have grown up and moved which can take up to 6 weeks. We recommend that sheds should be dismantled in October time when hedgehogs are more grown up and less likely to have problems with losing homes under sheds" said Trevor.

Hedgehogs are nationally on the decline so they need all the help they can get. These baby hedgehogs will cost WRAS up to £250 to hand rear and rehabilitate back to the wild. WRAS is extremely busy at the moment and has taken in more casualties this year at its own hospital than ever before as well as attending on site to more casualties than ever before. With soaring costs WRAS is asking people to consider taking out a standing order for as little as £1 a month to help the charity budget and plan for the future. By calling 01825873003 you can request a standing order form or make a donation over the phone. Donations can also be posted to East Sussex WRAS, PO Box 2148, Seaford, East Sussex, BN25 9DE.

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Press Contacts: Trevor Weeks or Kathy Martyn - East Sussex WRAS: 01825 873003 or 07931 523958

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