Strimmed hedgehog

Hedgehog with strimmer injury
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The sound of people people using a strimmer sets my teeth on edge. I hate them! They do so much damage to wildlife including hedgehogs, frogs and toads.

This is the story of Holly and her journey to recovery from a terrible strimmer wound. She was found at the end of July with her head sliced open, underneath a Holly bush. You can see from the pictures where the strimmer blade has cut deep into her head.

Holly is lucky – a few mm closer and the blade would have entered her skull.

When Holly was found, it was Summer and flies had laid eggs in the wound and hatched into maggots. These had to be painstakingly removed one by one and then the wound washed out with antimicrobial wound treatment and saline.

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You can see where the blade has cut across Holly’s head

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Flies had laid eggs in the open wound, which had hatched into maggots

Holly was put on a course of antibiotics and pain relief. The wound was cleaned daily to stop infection and a special wound gel was added to aid healing.

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Holly’s wound after around 10 days of treatment. It has scabbed over but needs cleaning daily to prevent infection.

Eventually, the wound healed and new spines started to grow through where the wound was.

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New spines starting to grow though – around a month after treatment started

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Holly fit and well and ready to go back to the wild.

Holly is incredibly lucky. Sadly, injuries like Holly’s are far from uncommon. Many hedgehogs are not so fortunate and strimmer and mowing injuries are a major cause of suffering and death. It also took me 6 weeks of intensive care to nurse her back to health. To help prevent injuries and suffering please:

  • Check all areas of long grass carefully before mowing or strimming. Hedgehogs nest in long grass.
  • Ideally keep areas of grass long for wildlife and don’t strim at all.
  • Encourage everyone you know to check before they mow – a simple check can save hedgehogs as well as frogs, toads and other wildlife that loves to nest or forage in long grass.

I run a hedgehog rescue in York, England and have nursed hundreds of hedgehogs back to health. You can support my work at www.littlesilverhedgehog.etsy.com

My blog is full of tips and advice on helping wild hedgehogs – please take a look around my other blog posts and see what you can do to help our spiky friends.

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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