Sheltered Housing Scheme for Hedgehogs

A sheltered housing scheme is being launched by a local charity but rather than for elderly humans the scheme aims to help young orphaned hedgehogs.

East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) is appealing for funds to help set up a series of sheltered housing and rearing facilities to help over winter at least 50 hedgehogs this winter.

In order to survive hibernation hedgehogs need to be a minimum of 500grams. However, we frequently find hedgehogs which weigh far less. "The smallest hedgehog we have ever found was a 5 gram hedgehog on the 5th December a few years ago in Langney." said WRAS founder Trevor Weeks.

Hedgehogs might appear hardy covered in spines but they are very susceptible to illness, infection and disease and whilst hibernating they can die if they are not healthy enough and especially if they do not have enough weight on them.

Hedgehog carer Monica Russell have been working with WRAS for over a year now and is specialising in hedgehog care. She will be leading WRAS's hedgehog scheme. "I love hedgehogs they are amazing little creatures and such charactors" said Monica, "it will cost approximately £1000 a month to over winter 50 hedgehogs. We need to look at purchasing indoor hutches for them as well as outdoor hutches, food, veterinary costs, bedding materials, extra bowls, heat pads, hedgehogs release boxes and more."

East Sussex WRAS are appealing for funds to help set up and run this new Hedgehog Sheltered Housing Scheme and need to raise as much money as possible to over winter as many as possible. "We have had an exceptionally busy year and it is always difficult to know how many hedgehogs we will get in but we need to plan ahead and set ourselves up for a busy winter" said WRAS's Casualty Care Manager Tim McKenzie, "we are expecting about 50 hedgehogs to need over wintering this year so we hope to raise enough funds to provide safe accomodation and facilities so they can be over wintered safely and released in the spring."

Hedgehogs hibernate every winter but they will occasionally wake up during warmer spells or if their nest is disturbed. They survive of fat reserves whilst asleep so if they are not fat enough they can wake up during the winter and then struggle to find food and can potentially starve to death.

You can help East Sussex WRAS by making a donation towards their hedgehog appeal by sending a cheque payable to "East Sussex WRAS" to Hedgehog Appeal, PO Box 2148, Seaford, East Sussex, BN25 9DE or online.

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Press Contact: Trevor Weeks, East Sussex WRAS, 07931 523958 (private)

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