THIS has been another busy year for hedgehog rescues in Mid Devon. We have been able to rehabilitate and release a good number of hogs after treating them for the usual range of afflictions: heavy intestinal parasite burdens, strimmer injuries, dog bites, chest and/or gut infections, flystrike/maggots, etc. 

We have also had to take a number of hogs to the vet to be euthanised, putting an end to further suffering.  Hedgehogs must be amongst the most popular wild animals and most people will go out of their way to help. 

A sad exception was a hoglet who was found covered in red hair dye, out on the playing field in Bow, on October 31. Was this perhaps someone’s idea of a Hallowe’en “trick”? 

A local hog lover took it in and washed the paint off, but by the time it arrived at Coleford rescue, it was severely stressed and dehydrated. In spite of our best efforts, the hoglet did not make it.   

November is that time of the year many hedgehog carers slightly dread. The season of the autumn juveniles, i.e. young hedgehogs too small to survive the winter. 

They just don’t have enough body fat to cope with the weight loss incurred during hibernation. This year there seem to be even more autumn juveniles out and about than in previous years. 

There could be any number of reasons, but the most obvious one is probably the mild weather we have been having since summer. We have seen an unusually large number of hoglets out in daylight (a tell-tale sign that they are unwell), alive but struggling increasingly with internal parasites and other health issues. 

Hedgehog rescues have been inundated with these juveniles and there comes a time when you cannot take in any more prickly patients. Most hedgehog rescues in Mid Devon have now reached that point.  


So, what can you do when you find a small hoglet (anything from 50 to 400 grams) or one of any size out in the daytime?  

Ring the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (01584 890801) and ask for contact details of local rescues near you (those who are now full up will have asked the BHPS to take them off the register).

Or, if there are no local options, take the hog to the RSPCA in West Hatch (TA3 5RT), any time between 7am and 9pm. The main building might be closed after 3pm, but if you go around the back, they will accept wildlife patients up to 9pm.  There is no need to ring beforehand.  

Obviously it is a long way to go up to West Hatch so having more local rescues would be ideal. If you think you would like to be trained up, get in touch with John Groves in East Village: 07966 435147.  

It would take a good few months of weekly training mornings to learn all you need to know and to build up the skills before you can start your own rescue at home. So, before committing yourself, you need to carefully consider whether you have got time and the right set-up to care for hedgehogs at home.  

If you are not able to become a hedgehog carer, you might be interested in joining our network of people who are willing to transport hogs from the finder to a rescue if the finder is unable to do so for whatever reason. If you are interested, please get in touch with me: [email protected] .

Make sure your garden is wildlife friendly: set up a hedgehog house and feeding station, avoid poisons and pesticides which kill far more than the intended victims, as carrion eaters tidying up your garden, hedgehogs are particularly susceptible. 

And finally, support your local rescues who all need donations ranging from financial support to old newspapers for bedding, to meaty cat food and kitten biscuits. Contact your local rescue for ways you can help. 

Francisca Van Holthoon