Hedgehog with rat trap injury

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This poor boy was found out in daylight with horrendous injuries. He was missing an entire front toe right down to the bone. His nose is also damaged. He smelt terribly of infection.

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Hedgehog with an injured nose and paw, likely caused by a rat ‘snap trap’

This injury is typical of a hedgehog caught in a rat snap trap. The ‘snap’ catches noses and paws.

Although these kind of rat traps are perfectly legal, it is not legal to catch anything but rats in them. Small hedgehogs can, however, get inside the traps if they are not sited above ground.

Although they do not injure hedgehogs, bait box rat traps can also be lethal to hedgehogs. Hedgehogs can also get inside these traps and will eat any poison left out and be poisoned themselves. Small hedgehogs are around the same size as a rat. This is why it is difficult to keep rats out of hedgehog feeding stations.

It is vital to locate traps correctly to avoid catching small hedgehogs. Please watch this video to see how the boxes should be located above ground, out of the reach of hedgehogs.

This poor hedgehog was sadly euthanized. When starting to clean the injury, I found it was absolutely full of maggots. Too much damage had been done to save the leg and hedgehogs cannot survive in the wild or captivity with a missing front leg. He was also very weak and emaciated.

If he had not had the maggot damage and if he was strong enough for an operation, it might have been possible to stitch the remaining skin around the exposed bone of the toe.

It is likely that he was a late Autumn baby who had struggled through winter and was already starving. He may have ventured into a trap looking for food.

It is vital to rescue any hedgehog as soon as it is seen out in the day. In the summer, particularly, flies will lay eggs on any open wounds or hedgehogs lying motionless. I then have the problem of maggots to deal with on top of the injuries. It takes many many hours to remove fly eggs and maggots and often you don’t know if, even after all that hard work, the hedgehog will survive.

I run a hedgehog rescue in York, England. You can read more about my work here and also how you can support it.

I make handmade silver jewellery inspired by nature and wildlife to raise funds for my rescue work. You can visit my online jewellery shop here.

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Hedgehog friendly ponds – provide a pond escape route

Hedgehog friendly pond
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Ponds are fantastic for wildlife. They will attract lots of insects to your garden and can provide a safe drinking spot for hedgehogs and other animals. The birds love to bathe in mind.

Hedgehogs are actually great swimmers. Just take a look at this hedgehog who is having hydrotherapy. But, like humans, they can’t swim forever. If a hedgehog ventures into a pond with no escape route, it will soon tire and drown.

The best ponds for hedgehogs have shallow sloping sides (like a beach) with plenty of escape routes all the way round. The pond will also be fairly shallow. One escape route is not enough – an exhausted hedgehog will not know that if only it keeps swimming around, it will eventually find an escape route. You need to provide escape routes all around the edges.

You can do this by creating sloped edges when you create your pond or putting rocks/large stones into the water and also plenty of pots with pond plants, submerged just under the water. You can also create a ladder to help hedgehogs escape. I have several submerged logs as well – which are also great for dragonfly larvae.

Keep your pond levels topped up all year – this helps prevent a hedgehog falling in.

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Hedgehog friendly pond. Credit: Frog Life

To help prevent hedgehogs venturing into unsafe ponds, please also provide plenty of shallow bowls of water around the garden. These provide a safe place for hedgehogs to drink. They need to drink a surprising amount, especially in hot weather.

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Hedgehog drinking from a mosaic hedgehog bowl

I have lots of other advice for creating wildlife friendly gardens here and here also a blog about the best plants to grow in your hedgehog haven.

I run a hedgehog rescue in York, England. You can read more about my work here and also how to support it here.

I also make handmade silver nature jewellery to raise funds for my hedgehog hospital and you can visit my online shop here.

Silver paw print jewellery for pet lovers and pet memorial jewellery

Silver paw print pendant by Little Silver Hedgehog
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My handmade silver jewellery is a beautiful way to cherish your pet or remember a loved and lost pet.

Solid silver pawprint charms by Little Silver Hedgehog

Handmade solid silver pawprint charms on a silver link bracelet

I am a huge animal lover myself. As well as running the hedgehog hospital, I have two rescue cats and also ‘borrow’ a doggy for walks.

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Alfie – one of my two rescue cats

My silver paw print jewellery is pawfect for any pet lover.  I can make pawprints as charms, pendants, bracelets, tie pins, cufflinks, keyrings and earrings. All the designs are made by me by hand and they are hand sanded and polished. All the proceeds support my hedgehog hospital and help pay for food, medicine, equipment and vet bills. My hedgehog rescue is entirely self-funded so it’s a really vital source of funds.

I can personalise the pawprint jewellery to create something unique for you, including using gemstones or different colours of Liberty ribbon. I can also hand engrave the name of your pet on the reverse of the jewellery.

paw print liberty bracelet on teal ribbon

Solid silver pawprint heart on Liberty fabric bracelet. I could also make a pendant on this fabric and have a wide variety of colours to choose from.

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I can hand engrave a name, initials or word on the back of the jewellery to help remember your pet

If you are looking for something extra-special to remember a lost pet, I can also embed . pet ashes into the centre of the jewellery. You can’t see it but it will always be there, right next to you. Please get in touch if you would like a custom piece of jewellery.

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Solid silver pawprint heart with inset Blue Zircon gemstone. I can use a wide variety of gemstones.

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Custom solid silver pawprint pendant with Blue Zircon pebble and Swarovski crystal bead

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Solid silver pawprint earrings

I run a hedgehog rescue in York, England. You can find out more about me here and also how to support my work.

My handmade silver jewellery shop is online here.

Thank you so much for looking!

Emma and the hedgehogs

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The wild hedgehog diet – why beetles not slugs are the No.1….

wild hedgehog diet
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Would you eat a slug? Well, they aren’t top of the foods that hedgehogs like to eat either.

Beetles, followed by caterpillars are the number 1 wild foods for hedgehogs.

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wild hedgehog diet

But here we have a bit of a problem. The use of pesticides on our crops and in our gardens over recent years means that insect numbers are falling dramatically. The trend towards tidy gardens also means there are fewer plants for beetles and butterflies and places for them to hide away over Winter.

Slugs, snails and earthworms, as well as being the less favoured foods for hedgehogs, also create another problem. They are the intermediate hosts for internal parasties that can make hedgehogs very sick. You can read more about that here.

So… what can you do? It is vital to garden for insects. Do everything you can to create habitats for beetles and butterflies. Build a log pile and a compost heap. Build a bug hotel. Leave areas long and wild. Grow a wide variety of plants that are attractive to insects. As well as providing food for hedgehogs, these plants will also provide foraging cover for hedgehogs and also nest sites.

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Borders packed with a wide variety of plants are best for insects – and hedgehogs

Supplementary feeding and leaving out food and water for hedgehogs can also help give them a helping hand although it’s not unknown for a hedgehog to walk past a bowl of cat biscuits in favour of munching on a beetle. It will definitely help though.

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Build an insect hotel to attract bugs to your garden and provide somewhere for them to over-winter. Mine has a hedgehog house underneath!

If you want to control slug numbers in your garden please never use slug pellets. They poison hedgehogs. Once a hedgehog has been poisoned, very little can be done to save it.

I know I’ve said that slugs aren’t great for hedgehogs but they are good for other wildlife, including frogs. If you want to limit slug numbers, you can try a range of safe natural methods including copper tape and beer traps. I also use a natural nematode solution like Nemaslug, which is harmless to wildlife and helps to keep slug numbers under control.

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Provide supplementary food and water for hedgehogs, as well as gardening for insects

I run a hedgehog rescue in York, England. I also have a wildlife garden that I have made as wildlife friendly as possible. You can read more about my work here and also how to support it.

Improving city green spaces for wildlife

York Railway Pond
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Mason (my borrowed doggy) and I loved our walk this morning around the historic railway pond in York. It’s a little way out of the centre of York, not too far from the Knavesmire Racecourse.

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Natural fencing around the site

The area is now managed by the York Natural Environment Trust and lots of work is happening to improve the area for wildlife.

Many of the trees have been pollarded to let more light in and provide space for a wider range of species to flourish. It was lovely to see wildflowers, including primroses and comfrey, starting to poke their way through.

Lots of other fantastic ideas as well including the natural fences around the site and lots and lots of log piles. Wonderful homes for insects – essential to feed our wildlife and would make great hedgehog homes too. Also plenty of places to sit and take in this very beautiful and tranquil location. I’m pretty sure that hedgehogs live here because I’ve released some at sites fairly nearby….

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Lots of lovely wood piles

 

It is wonderful to have spaces like this in the city where our wildlife can thrive. The pond is very near to Hob Moor and there is a lovely wildlife corridor pretty much linking the two locations. We need more of these wonderful sites and especially ones that are connected by wildlife corridors.

Well behaved dogs on leads are welcome at the pond.

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The woodland has been opened up to allow more species to flourish

Do you have any spaces like this near you?

These locations rely on the hard work and dedication of volunteers so please do support any work happening in your area.

I run a hedgehog rescue in York. You can find out more about my work here and how to support it.

I don’t have a dog of my own but I borrow a doggy via borrowmydoggy.

 

Hedgehogs trapped in plastic rubbish

Hedgehog trapped in plastic
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We’ve all seen the plight of our wildlife wordwide recently on TV caused by the plastic in our oceans. Our hedgehogs and other wildlife face the same dangers on land.

I first got started as a hedgehog rescue due to the dangers caused by plastic waste. I spotted a hedgehog out of the window that looked like it had a leaf stuck to its spines. I thought it was so cute that it had a leaf on it and I called it ‘leaf hog’. It wasn’t until several days later when I managed to get closer to the hedgehog that I realised it wasn’t a leaf. The poor hedgehog had got tangled in the plastic netting that is used for bird fat balls. The plastic was all around it, cutting deep into its flesh. How awful that something used to help one species, was causing immense suffering to another.

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Hedgehog trapped in plastic beer can rings. Photo: Dru Burdon, Jersey Hedgehogs.

Plastic litter is all around us but particularly in hedgerows where hedgehogs like to live where it gets blown by the wind or thrown by thoughtless passers by. Hedgehogs can get tangled in discarded netting (including football nets, garden netting and the netting used by Councils to cover recycling boxes), elastic bands and plastic beer can rings. They can also get their heads trapped inside discarded plastic packaging, cups and pots.

This plastic waste can even be found in our own gardens. A couple of years ago I found a hedgehog wandering around in my own garden that had its head completely stuck inside the empty plastic bag from a hot chicken, picked up somewhere in the neighbourhood. It was attracted by the tasty remnants of the hot chicken, poked its head inside to get a lick and got the bag stuck entirely over its head.

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The tasty remnants left in our plastic waste are attractive to hedgehogs, who then get their heads trapped. Photo: Dru Burdon, Jersey Hedgehogs

Even sadder, over the years I have been called out to a number of hedgehog nests in gardens that have been accidentally disturbed. These nests were not made of the leaves that you would expect to be used in a garden but were full of bits of plastic waste. A huge risk to any baby hoglets who may get trapped and grow up with plastic trapped around their bodies, which will get tighter as they grow.

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A ‘normal’ hedgehog nest made with leaves. This nest has been accidentally disturbed as they should not be out of cover. Many hedgehogs are now incorporating plastic waste into their nests.

I know I am preaching to the converted here but please please do everything you can to help stop this plastic pollution. Pick up litter on your street. Encourage your neighbours to clean up local hedgerows. Join one of the many Great British Spring Clean events organised around the country. Don’t assume that your garden is litter free and remember that even an old plastic bag left in the garden to collect garden cuttings can look like a nest site to a hedgehog. I even had a call from a frantic lady at the local recycling site who was just about to throw a bin bag into the skip when she realised it had a hedgehog in it…..

In addition, do everything you can to cut down on your own use of plastic packaging. I always take a bag with me when I am out on a walk in the city or countryside and I take home as much plastic waste as I can find. Sadly, this is something you just have to keep on doing. I cut up all the elastic bands and plastic beer can rings I find, before carefully disposing of them.

If you do find a hedgehog trapped in plastic waste, it is vital to seek advice from a hedgehog rescue. The hedgehog may need treatment for constriction injuries or deep wounds. If a hedgehog has been trapped in netting for several days it will be dehydrated and starving and will need specialist treatment. Do not just cut them free and release them. You can find out how to get in touch with a hedgehog rescue here.

I run a hedgehog rescue in York. You can find out more about my work here. My work is entirely self funded and you can find out more about how to support my rescue work here.

Tour of my wildlife garden – tips for how to make your garden wildlife friendly

Wildlife gardening
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Join me on this little tour of some of the wildlife friendly features in my garden including compost heaps, hedgehog houses, water bowls and an insect hotel. Spring is a great time to be getting your garden ready for wildlife and hedgehogs emerging from hibernation.

If I’ve inspired you to make your garden more wildlife friendly, here are my pages with lots of advice on completing your transformation.

Hedgehog friendly gardening

Creating hedgehog highways

What plants to grow for wildlife

How to build an insect hotel

In addition, I don’t use any pesticides or herbicides anywhere in the garden. Slug pellets are also banned!

Hedgehog hole to link gardens

Hedgehog hole through to a neighbouring garden

 

Insect hotel, bug house, wildlife hotel

My home-made insect hotel

I run a hedgehog rescue in York, England. Like all wildlife rescues, my work is entirely self funded. You can find out more about my work here. If you’ve been inspired to support my work, you can do so here.

I’d love to see your pictures of your wildlife garden and any top tips you have for attracting wildlife into your garden.