The cost of hedgehog rescue

European hedgehog
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European hedgehog

Andy, a rescued wild hedgehog

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).

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You need a lot of bowls to feed a lot of hedgehogs!

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

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The washing machine is on constantly to wash all the hedgehog blankets

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 and you shop online, you can make a donation every time you shop at absolutely no cost to you – just sign up through this site and click through before you shop Easy Fundraising for Little Silver Hedgehog Rescue Centre

I also make silver jewellery to support my rescue work Little Silver Hedgehog

Thank you on behalf of me, all the wildlife rescues and, of course, all the hedgehogs!

 

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2015 – A spike in admissions

European hedgehog hoglet
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Hoggy New Year! A huge thank you to everyone that has supported me on my journey and my third year of hedgehog rescue. This is a quick look back on Little Silver Hedgehog during 2015 and a look forward to the year ahead.

We started 2015 with 13 hedgehogs being over-wintered from 2014. Spring saw them successfully released back to the wild including my special boy, Max. He was found in Winter 2014 severely underweight and not eating. He was hand fed and given fluids all over Christmas including Christmas Day and lived in our spare bedroom to ensure he was warm. What a brilliant Christmas present when he turned a corner and started to thrive!

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Max

The rest of the year brought in almost 70 hedgehogs – a huge spike in admissions on 2014 as awareness of Little Silver Hedgehog has grown and the public has become more knowledgeable of the plight facing our prickly pals.

Spring saw an influx of orphans including Fred and Ginger who had rolled out of their nest and down a steep bank. The bank was so overgrown it was impossible to find their nest again. ‘Peeping’ for their mum alerted the finder to their plight and they were luckily rescued. And baby Iggy who was found in a car park with no sign of his mum, severely dehydrated.

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Fred and Ginger

Late Summer and Autumn and still they kept arriving. Many in Summer 2014 arrived with multiple internal parasites – roundworm, lungworm and fluke, on top of severe dehydration and starvation. A contrast to 2013 when most arrived with only one internal parasite. Cold, wet weather struck just as baby hedgehogs were emerging on their first foraging trips and food sources dwindled. We suffered a number of tragic losses – our worst since opening in 2012.

But there were also happy stories. Two babies, Spike and Fuzzypeg, whose nest had been attacked and had been left for days in the hot weather on their own on a lawn, survived. A miracle given that fly eggs had hatched on Spike and got inside his ear. They were the smallest orphans I have raised at only 66g and 70g.

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Fuzzypeg, who arrived at only 66g

I learned a lot last year, including how to hand feed orphaned hoglets and to help them go to the toilet as well as how to remove maggots from ears – gross!

Hedgehogs kept coming right through December and we currently have 27 in care here or out with with foster carers. It’s a busy start to 2016!

Wildlife rescues are entirely self-funded and, with even more mouths to feed and medicines to buy, fundraising has been more important than ever. I am indebted to the many people who have donated food, equipment and money to help us keep going.

The handmade jewellery I create to raise funds also went from strength to strength in 2015 www.littlesilverhedgehog.etsy.com. I introduced new wildlife designs and created a new Little Silver Hedgehog logo, working with a local York illustrator. I wrote a leaflet to accompany each order to help spread the word about how people can help hedgehogs.

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Little Silver Hedgehog logo and jewellery

There is much to look forward to in 2016. I’m planning to increase the number of talks I give to help raise awareness of how people can help hedgehogs. My network of foster carers play a vital role over-wintering hedgehogs once they are fit and well and I’d like to expand and grow the army of volunteers I’ll need to help even more hedgehogs. I hope to find more time to be creative and create even more jewellery to help raise vital funds.

I hope 2016 is a happy and healthy one for hedgehogs but somehow I think we’ll be busier than ever….