Council empty property officer, Will Taylor, has been involved with a housing issue of a different kind this autumn – rescuing baby hedgehogs!
As a volunteer for Isle of Wight Hedgehog Rescue, he recently had a call out to Ryde for an abandoned litter of five hoglets, after a log pile used as nest had partially collapsed.
The hoglets’ mother could not get in due to the collapse, and abandoned them.
Will received the call for help to rehome the hoglets at the end of a working day, went straight to the site and dismantled the log pile while still in his work suit.
“Autumn is the time of year when log piles make perfect nests and we can also assist them by putting out some food such as tinned dog or cat food (not fish based), wetted unsweetened muesli, chopped boiled eggs and a shallow bowl of water,” said Will.
“With a little help and a few simple measures we could become a hedgehog friendly Island which will ensure the future of this endearing little creature. The four rescued hoglets are recovering very well and already weigh about 550 grams.”
Sadly, one of the hoglets died but the other four are doing very well said Will. They will be kept throughout the winter. This is because autumn juveniles often do not survive the winter and they will be released next spring.
How to help hedgehogs this bonfire night
With Halloween and bonfire night fast approaching, Will is urging the people to build bonfires on the day they are to be lit to save hedgehogs and other wildlife from suffering.
If this isn’t possible, please check your bonfire carefully before lighting as hedgehogs may use them for nesting.
The British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) suggests fencing off the area off before you build your bonfire, to prevent it harming wildlife, including hedgehogs.
However, if this is not possible, before lighting:
• lift up the base and listen for any noises;
• completely move the bonfire before lighting, and
• light from one side only – which allows escape for any animals nesting inside.
For more information please visit the BHPS website at: britishhedgehogs.org.uk/ or if you find a sick or injured hedgehog please contact them on: 01584 890801.
Alternatively contact the Save our Hedgehogs Isle of Wight Facebook site on 01983 613145.
Prickly facts about hedgehogs
• A group of hedgehogs is called an array
• They are nocturnal and sleep all day in nests under bushes or in woodland areas
• Hedgehogs eat insects, worms, snails, mice and frogs
• A hedgehog has between 5,000 and 7,000 spines
• They rely on hearing and smell as they have very poor eyesight
• Hedgehogs got their name from their preferred habitat—garden hedges—and the pig-like grunts they make
• They have existed for over 15 million years and have survived longer than the sabre tooth tiger and woolly mammoth