This week saw the arrival of three orphaned hedgehogs.
The hoglets, as they are called, came into our care after a dog had disturbed their nest and scared away the mother. The lovely couple whose garden they lived in rang us for advice and watched the area for a couple of hours for the mother to return, but unfortunately she has not been seen since. The youngsters were then brought to the shelter were they were admitted to our wildlife unit.
The young hoglets are roughly about 18 days old. Their eyes have just opened and their spines are now starting to strengthen. Two of the little ones have some bite wounds caused by the dog. They then got fly strike; this can become very nasty very quickly. We spent hours removing the tiny eggs which was a huge effort and when we had thought they were all gone, we found more. Thankfully all are now removed and the wounds have been treated.
The three hoglets are been fed special formula milk every 4/5 hours around the clock and this will continue for the next few weeks. They are also on a strong course of antibiotics to stop them from getting any infections. They will be fully weaned by six weeks of age and they will then be moved into an outdoor enclosure where they will begin their next step towards going back to the wild.
The arrival of the three hoglets marks the start of our “Hedgehog Season”. June right the way through to September; we are inundated with sick, injured and orphaned hedgehogs. During these months many people are out in their gardens in the good weather and making them look nice. But while doing this you can accidentally disturb and destroy hedgehog nests. We also see many hedgehogs come with limbs missing and deep cuts caused from garden strimmers. So please be careful this summer when you’re out and about in your garden and please check all compost heaps and garden borders before doing any work. If you need any help or advice please don’t hesitate to call us.
- Dan Donoher of Kildare Animal Foundation writes the weekly Pet Rescue column in the Leinster Leader