What does it cost to run a hedgehog rescue?
Of course you cannot put a price on the life of a hedgehog like Andy. Hedgehog numbers are in sharp decline and every prickly life is precious. But did you know that the vast majority of wildlife rescues are entirely self-funded and do it just for love?
I thought it would be an interesting exercise to look back over the past 12 months and see what supplies I’ve needed to keep rescuing hedgehogs. Bear in mind that I am a very small rescue, with 50 admitted over 2015. Larger rescues will have much higher costs.
My shopping list excludes food (except for the baby hoglets). It may surprise you that one hedgehog alone can consume two trays of cat food a day. Where they put it I have no idea! So, on top of this you need to add cat biscuits, hedgehog food, cat/dog meat and more for 50 hedgehogs (many of whom are with me for up to 6 months and may not hibernate) – at least £1,000.
The list also excludes vet bills for worming treatments, x-rays and antibiotics plus diesel for driving round to pick up hedgehogs, to check up on hedgehogs out with foster carers and to release hedgehogs when they have been rehabilitated. Then there is the electric bill for all the piles of washing to keep all the hedgehog blankets clean and the heat pads on.
Add at least another £500 (more if amputations are required or significant additional vet intervention).
So, here is the list of what I have needed over the past 12 months.
- 8 bottles of hutch cleaner
- 140 cans of puppy mousse
- 20 cans of critical care mousse
- 150 microscope slides and covers
- 6 bottles of anti-bacterial spray
- 3 heat pads
- 1 microwave heat pad
- 100 pods of saline
- 1 bottle of hand sanitiser foam
- 1 hand sanitiser foam dispenser
- 3 tubs of critical care formula
- 1 chick brooder
- 10 large bags of hay
- 3 bags of cotton wool buds
- 1 bottle of sweet almond oil
- 100 10ml syringes
- 50 1 ml syringes
- 2 packets of vitamin supplement
- 4 tubs of lactose-free puppy milk
- 1 bottle of Hibiscrub
- 400 sterilising tablets
- 2 bottles of germicidal wound spray
- 2 bottles of mite drops
- 3 bottles of wound cleaner
- 1 bag of pipettes
- 1 bag of feeding tips
- 1 bottle of aloe vera spray
- 6 fleece blankets
- 14 packets/tubes of worming treatment
- 2 tubes of tea tree cream
- 2 bottles of ringworm treatment
- 5 tubes of athlete’s foot cream (for ringworm)
- 20 packets of spot on fluke treatment
- 3 fly mesh screens
- 1 fly catcher
- 1 set of digital scales
- 10 cleaning cloths
- 6 clipboards for recording vital statistics in the hospital
- 10 ceramic feeding bowls
- 2 pairs of thick rubber gloves
- 2 boxes of disposable plastic gloves
- 4 bottles of washing up liquid
Cost = £1500
So…. please remember when you find wildlife in need that the rescue that takes it in won’t receive any funding and will be running on nothing but love. Check out your nearest rescue and see what you can do to help.
I am so lucky to be supported by so many hedgehog lovers who have donated many of the items on my list above and continue to support my work. I could not do it without them.
If you would like to support my work, here’s a link to all the ways to help.
I also make silver jewellery inspired by nature and wildlife to support my rescue work. Please visit my online shop Little Silver Hedgehog
Thank you on behalf of me, all the wildlife rescues and, of course, all the hedgehogs!
The recognised hedgehog course for hedgehog rescues and vets is run by Vale Wildlife Hospital. You can find out more about their work and the one day course here.