How to identify an elderly hedgehog

Elderly European hedgehog
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Old-timer Elsie is a great great great great grandmother hedgehog – possibly even greater! She has likely survived at least four winters.

In a hedgehog, ginger is a sign of longevity. Their spines turn ginger and Elsie almost glows orange!

Hedgehog skin pigmentation also changes with age. A majority of hedgehogs are born with brown noses but elderly hedgehogs start to lose this pigmentation and their skin starts to go pink. This is particularly striking in this old lady currently residing with at Hedgehog Appreciation Prickly Pals Yorkshire 

 

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Pigmentation changes in the nose of an elderly hedgehog: Pic courtesy of H.A.P.P.Y – Hedgehog Appreciation Prickly Pals Yorkshire

Elsie has survived harsh winters, numerous hazards including roads, ponds, strimmers… but this year she has not fared so well. She is thin for her size. Her rear is baggy and pointed, whereas it should be round.

As with humans, their dental health can also suffer with age. Teeth get worn and rotten and infection can set in. Elsie is on antibiotics to treat an infection in her mouth.

Elsie needs TLC to restore her to full health and then we will find her a lovely garden where she can relax and live out the rest of her days. She’s one lucky hedgehog.

You can find out more about me and my work rescuing hedgehogs here

 

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