Can you help an orphaned hedgehog?

Animal rescuers in East Sussex are asking people if they can help support loads of Autumn orphaned hedgehogs from across the county. Over the past couple of weeks 20 orphaned hedgehogs have been rescued by East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS), mainly from the Hailsham, Eastbourne and Lewes area.

“We have never had so many in over such a short period of time” said Trevor Weeks founder of East Sussex WRAS.

At this time of year the mother hedgehog starts to think about hibernation and will abandon her young if she feels she needs to start concentrating on sorting herself out for hibernation. This event happens every year and with the night time temperatures dipping down at night as temperatures drop towards the low single figures.

“Warmer weather towards the end of the year followed by an Indian Summer can lead to Hedgehogs giving birth very late in the year and the youngsters don’t stand a chance of putting on enough weight to survive hibernation.” Said Trevor Weeks.

Studies have shown that hedgehogs need to be over 600 grams to stand a high chance of surviving hibernation, many of these youngsters are still coming in between 100 and 200 grams. “A few years ago we even had a small 25gram hedgehog found on the 5th December!” added Trevor.

East Sussex WRAS is asking people if they can help raise funds to so that WRAS can look after these autumn orphans over winter which can cost as much as £130 per hedgehog. “We are going to need to buy additional runs, buy extra cat food and obviously the veterinary costs will increase as most of these poor creatures will have either intestinal or lung worm which can be fatal for such small hedgehogs if not treated” added WRAS Director Monica Russell.

“Hedgehog care is not easy, they may be covered in spines and look hardy but they are in fact very fragile animals and suffer from many illnesses, which can be passed through the placenta from mum to baby before they are even born. Many of these illnesses can be fatal if not treated, so we do not advise people as a general rule to look after any autumn orphans themselves, because of the long list of pitfalls and problems which can be encountered. A hedgehog which looks calm or very active can actually be a very sick animal if you don’t know what you are looking for. We urge members of the public not to take such hedgehogs home and look after them without seeking help from their local veterinary nurse or wildlife rescue” added Monica.

As well as funding WRAS is looking to increase the number of volunteers helping at its Casualty Care Centre with the feeding and cleaning of all the hedgehogs and other casualties in care. If you could spare 3 hours once a week in a morning or early evening the please contact WRAS for further information.

Anyone wanting to support or help East Sussex WRAS should contact us on 07815 078234 or email Trevor. Donations can also be made online or posted to East Sussex WRAS, PO Box 2148, Seaford, East Sussex, BN25 9DE.

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Press Contact: Trevor Weeks, Director, East Sussex WRAS, 07931 523958

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