We do not usually collect rescued Hedgehogs, as we will be putting a lot of time and effort into their rehabilitation we expect the finders to bring the Rescued Hedgehog to us, However, there will arise the odd occasion when for some reason the finder cannot come to us.
As was the case when on 28th October 2013, we had to go to Lower Quinton to collect a small (178gm in weight) juvenile that had been found in the garden in the daytime not moving. When we arrived the Hedgehog was in a very poor condition, disorientated, dehydrated with a lot of ticks and fly strike. She was between 5-6 weeks old at the most. We cleaned her up and gave her subcutaneous fluids, placed her into a heated box to let her settle down and warm up.
“Quinton” as we received her.
She could not walk properly, would take a couple of steps then fall over onto her side. Her rear legs although strong when pushed against did not seem to respond to messages from the brain. We suspected that she had received a blow to her spine (possibly by a car) that had caused nerve damage to her spine, or possibly a vitamin deficiency. It was decided that we would see if time would heal the damage, rather than have her “Put to Sleep”. Working with our Vet (Emscote Vets, Warwick) we undertook the task of caring for “Quinton” as she was christened.
Having to be hand fed for two days she started to eat on her own from a bowl. We started to give her daily injections of Dexadresson (for two weeks) to help with any trauma and inflammation as well as putting B12 vitamins onto her food. We kept on giving the Vitamins onto her food for the next 5 weeks, during this time she was eating well as soon as the food was put out she would be there getting her nose into it. She now rolls onto her back (getting fat and round shaped) when she falls over and still struggles to get the right way up.
In November she stopped coming out to eat every night we suspected that she was starting to hibernate? She would eat on the odd occasion but generally slept most of the time. This continued until March 2014 when she started to eat all the food each night.
Unfortunately, there was not a great improvement in her condition, so it was decided that she could not be released into the wild. As it happens we had just been given a large hutch. So we created a secure pen for her in the corner of our garden. So on 4th April 2014 she was moved to her new outside home where she had access to a paved and grassed area to give her some variety of surfaces as well as a large double room nest area. She took to the new home straight away and seemed quite happy there, video clips showed her still having mobility problems but she seemed content to sit in a nest in one corner with her nose stuck between the mesh checking out the area. We extended the secure area to include a separate dining room for her food to be placed in order to make her travel further and get some exercise.
September 2014 saw her start to Hibernate again then starting to eat every night again in March 2015.
As she did not ball up we would take her with us when we gave talks to various interested groups, however she soon cottoned on to this disturbance and would try to bite Janette as she took her round to be seen. We now only take her if there is no other hog available.
September 2015 saw her go on holiday to a purpose built pen (the one built for “Tucky” see first blog) up to this point we expected her to need some form of support to help with her walking e.g. a row of bricks. However, on our return from our holiday we were told that she was walking unaided. We gave her access to all of our garden and video clips showed her walking all over the garden quite confidently without falling over. It has taken two years to get to this stage but has been well worth the effort.
September 2015 saw her start to hibernate again, coming out to eat regularly this February, she looks good, if a bit shaky on her legs, and is eating well.
Today Saturday 12th March we decided to place her back outside into her home pen she now weighs 1076gm, when the other Hedgehogs that are in other outside pens are released we will give her the full run of our garden again.
11pm just check up on her and she is out of the sleep box and found her food bowls, and is staring at the outlet to the garden wondering why it is currently blocked?
“Quinton” as she is now, just out of hibernation February 2016