||Hedgehogs are naturally nocturnal creatures.
Any hedgehog out in daylight will need help - even if there is nothing visibly
||Hedgehogs get mange - a condition which
is both painful and potentially life-threatening for them. The most obvious
signs will be loss of prickles, scaly, flaky skin or sometimes a very thick
'crust' of skin that builds up along their sides.
The food shown here is a mixture of AD and special formulae
milk substitute -
IT DOES NOT CONTAIN COW'S MILK
||Lung worm is a parasite that occurs
naturally in hedgehogs but, in a healthy hog, it will be kept to a manageable
level. It is when the hedgehog's immunity is low - due to disease, injury, or
dangerous weight loss - that the lung worm will take hold. Lung worm can be
fatal if it gets out of control and goes untreated. The surest sign of lung
worm is coughing - but it is not always easy to distinguish hedgehog coughing
from other noises it may make.
|| Often though, a hedgehog
with a lung worm problem will be brought in, either because somebody finds it
out during the day, or because it has other, more visible, problems.
|| Hedgehogs also suffer from tics - an external
parasite which vaguely resembles a small grey jellybean. Again, tics and
hedgehogs go hand in hand. Many hedgehogs - admitted for other reasons - have
tics behind their ears, perhaps because this is one of the few places where the
hedgehog cannot remove them himself. Usually, tics will just drop off once they
have had their fill. However, like lung worm, they may build up on a hedgehog
that is sick or has low immunity - and heavy infestations can kill. As always
with tics, they cannot be simply pulled off, for this would leave the teeth
imbedded in the hedgehog's flesh. Tics are dealt with by treating the hedgehog
|| Come October and the Wildlives hospital starts
filling up with underweight hedgehogs that need to be prevented from going into
hibernation. These are either hedgehogs born late in the year, as part of a
second brood, that have not had sufficient opportunity to put on weight - or
they are hedgehogs that were unable to find food during the summer. As it gets
colder and food gets scarce, these hedgehogs succomb to disease and parasites
and become more susceptible to injury to boot. If they were to go into
hibernation at this stage, they would not wake up again.
||Injuries caused by lawn mowers and
strimmers are one of the most common type of injuries we see in hedgehogs at
Wildlives. The photo on the right shows one of the luckier hedgehogs - he just
had his prickles shorn. At the other end of the scale, hedgehogs are admitted
with horrific wounds or missing limbs. Unfortunately, there is
not always a lot that can be done in such circumstances.
||During the spring and summer months, the
hospital is full up with orphaned baby hedgehogs. Baby hedgehogs may need help
if something happens to the mother, if she abandons them, or if they themselves
have fallen victim to some predator or hazard. However, if you find a nest of
careful not to disturb it and you should never intervene unless you are sure
that some-thing is wrong. On the other hand, if you see a baby hedgehog out and
about, and it is still there after an hour or so, it will need your assistance.
Please do not leave it there for a couple of days! See the
pages for more information on what to do and who to call.
||Occasionally, people bring in a nest of
hedgehogs - complete with mother hog. This may be because the nest is
situated in an inconvenient place, or because there is something wrong with the
mother. If you find a hedgehog nest when doing building work or something, the
best thing to do is to postpone the work for a
little while. If this is not practical, you should seek professional
advice. If there is something wrong with the mother hog, the whole nest will
need to be taken into care. However, you must wear gloves when handling
hedgehog babies. If the mother suspects any interference with her nest, she may
abandon the babies, or even eat them!