Solving prickly problems
PUBLISHED: 12:26 31 October 2011 | UPDATED: 20:13 20 February 2013
Herts Hogline is an award-winning non-profit voluntary organisation that rescues sick, injured and orphaned hedgehogs. Here Lynne Garner, who runs the organisation, talks about its valuable work
HERTS Hogline has been rescuing sick, injured and orphaned hedgehogs for around 20 years. We are based in Bishop's Stortford, run completely by volunteers and the headquarters is a 6ft by 8ft converted shed in the founders back garden.
The volunteers fit the care for these prickly creatures around their own busy lives. Being non-funded, our small band of dedicated people cover most of the expenses ourselves - on average it costs 25 per hedgehog. Each year we rescue between 40 to 75 hedgehogs and have a success rate of 66%.
In March Herts Hogline was awarded the Burgess/Wetnose award for Best Small Animal Rescue. In June we rescued two hoglets, which weighed just 32 and 34 grams, making these 23 grams smaller than any hoglet we had successfully hand reared before. We have continued with this success and have just reached the milestone of rescuing just over 500 hedgehogs since the year 2000.
It is Herts Hogline's aim to return all hedgehogs to the wild. However if a hedgehog survives but is disabled - these injuries are often strimmer related - and cannot be returned we have a small list of safe gardens. These are used to allow the hedgehog to live as natural a life as possible but in a safe and secure environment.
Our small organisation also aims to educate the public in how they can help. We do this by visiting local groups and giving presentations and in return ask for a donation and the chance to sell items.
The advice we give is simple and includes:
- If you have a pond with steep sides then fit a ramp, so any hedgehog that falls in can climb out.
- Keep netting at least 15cm (6") off the ground.
- Leave out food and water. This can be special hedgehog food, tinned cat/dog food (non-fishy flavours) or make your own by mixing chopped/crushed unsalted peanuts, dried mealworms, sultanas and sunflower hearts.
- Always check under hedges and long grass before you trim/cut.
- Always check compost heaps prior to pushing in a garden fork.
- To avoid hedgehogs making a nest in your shed/garage keep the door closed at all times.
- Do not use slug pellets; find safer alternatives. If you do have to use pellets then use only when you know the problem will be at its worst and remove pellets when not needed; place pellets in or under a tube so hedgehogs cannot reach them; remove any dead or dying slugs/snails and dispose of safely.
- Always check a bonfire before you light it.
- Provide a good home by buying one or making your own. Plans for a hedgehog home can be found on www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk
- Hedgehogs are completely nocturnal so if seen during the day they have either been disturbed or are unwell and need help.
- Never treat hedgehog for fleas yourself, many medications suitable for pets can be lethal to hedgehogs.
- During autumn and winter you may find small hedgehogs (weighing under 600 grams) that are too small to survive hibernation, so they need to be rescued.
Find out more
If you would like to discover more about Herts Hogline then visit our website, like us on Facebook or become a follower on Twitter. If you are a member of a group within a 25-mile radius of Stansted Airport that would like to book a presentation then contact Lynne by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call the helpline during office hours.
Lastly if you find a hedgehog in need of help, the helpline 07956 698946 is only manned between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. At all other times call a local vet for medical advice.
If you have built a bonfire in readiness for November 5, make sure you check that no hedgehogs have taken refuge in the pile before you light it.