Saturday, 14 April 2012

Behind The Scenes

Not many people get to see behind the scenes and inside the hedgehog shed. Which is lucky really because most of the time it smells of hedgehogs (not a good smell) and it isn't often tidy (much like my house). However I recently discovered there was a competition for Shed Of The Year. So decided our shed may just be different enough to have a chance of winning the prize.

So I gave it a quick tidy and took some shots. I then completed the application form and uploaded some images. If you'd like to see our entry please click here.

Now the hedgehog shed (also known as the hedgehog rehabilitation unit) was part funded by the Peoples Trust for Endangered Species and as you can see it looks an ordinary 6' x 8' green shed from the outside.

Tasha often helps at feeding time by picking up food I drop  

However a lot is packed into a small space. The shed can house (comfortably) 12 hedgehogs but there have been times when it's housed 16. This meant I had to prepare meals on the floor, as the work surface was covered by pet carriers housing hoglets.

The view as I open the door

On the left there are 8 purpose built hutches. All made by my Uncle Albert from reclaimed wood. These are lined with tiles for ease of cleaning and have a separate sleeping and run area. Each hutch houses (normally) a single hedgehog and on the front is a data card.

Cleaned with dinner ready and waiting

Under the work surface on the right there are two cages that house our really sick hedgehogs and hoglets. These contain plug in heat pads that keep a constant temperature. When unwell hedgehogs often have problems keeping their body temperature up, so a heat pad helps with this.      

Ready and waiting for the next unwell hedgehog

Above these I have two high sided grey pallets (donated by a friend) that are used for the very small hoglets. I use these as it allows me to keep a constant temperature (they also have heat pads in them) and also the hoglets can't escape by squeezing through the bars (which has happened in the past). 

The smallest hoglets raised to date weighing just 32 and 34 grams

Now you've seen inside HQ I'll take this opportunity to show you just two of the gardens owned by our carers. 
This is owned by Alan and is totally enclosed

Alan's job is to assess how a hedgehog will cope if released. Once a hedgehog has been with him for a couple of weeks we can decide if it is suitable for release or needs to live in one of our large enclosed gardens. 

This belongs to Rob and Di and is used as part of our release strategy

In here we can hibernate hedgehogs over winter. Then when the weather is right the door is opened and if they stay they stay if they go they go! We do try to alternate the gender of the hedgehogs in the hopes they discover one another and breed.   

I hope you have enjoyed seeing behind the scenes and if you have time please like our entry for Shed Of The Year 2012 clicking here.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Tripods Check-up

On the 22nd March I picked up from one of our carers a hedgehog who'd had a back leg amputated. As with all major operations we always play it safe and get our vet to do a check-up for us. Today Tripod (don't blame me for the name that was our vet Helen's suggestion) had his.

I just wanted to share with you how it went.

Now if you know anything about hedgehogs you'll know if they don't want to co-operate they just curl into a ball and refuse to uncurl. Therefore they often need a little persuasion. So Tripod was popped into a box and given a little whiff of gas:

After a while Tripod became sleepy and Helen was able to have a good look at his wound:

She found the wound was healing well however it needed a clean up. So poor Sophie (she needs hands-on experience with wildlife as part of her nurse training) was given the task of carefully cleaning with wash and cotton wool buds:

Once the wound was cleaned and checked again it was time for a little oxygen to help Tripod wake up and a little warm on a heat pad:

You may notice a few flakes of 'stuff' on the blanket. I had noticed Tripod was losing a few spines and hoped it was mange and treated. However the spine loss has continued and the skin is now a little flaky, so these were collected up and have been sent off to the lab. They're going to see if they can grow us anything nasty. If they do at least we know what to treat Tripod for.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the following:

John, one of our supporters/hog carers who did a little fund raising for us and the money he raised covered the cost of the lab test. 

The A120 Medivets for providing their expertise free of charge.

Attimore Vets in Welwyn Garden City for providing the primary care and the removal of Tripods leg.

Without the support of such fantastic vets we would never be able to do our job - so THANK YOU guys!