As conscientious wildlife lovers, my neighbour and I cut a hole in the fence to allow free movement for wildlife, particularly hedgehogs, between our gardens and the adjoining wasteland.
Having not seen hedgehogs in the garden for a couple of years, whilst enjoying our new garden furniture one balmy August evening, we were delighted to witness a hedgehog whizzing about the lawn in search of food.
Later the same month one morning, the dog was frantically barking in the garden and on closer inspection, we saw that she had found a large male hedgehog cowering in the sunshine.
Having rescued several hedgehogs in the decade we have lived in Boston Spa, alarm bells rang immediately. On closer inspection, the hedgehog was very wheezy with a rattily chest and a runny nose. Luckily, after a quick call to Westwood Vets, I discovered they were obliged to take wild animals in and they had nurtured many sick and injured hedgehogs over the years.
The vet practice kindly kept us updated on his progress and having administered antibiotics and removing parasites, to everyone’s surprise, the hedgehog duly produced two hoglets! Reluctant to suckle, they required regular daily feeds during their natural six week weaning.
The vet advised releasing the three hedgehogs in the same site as they were found, in spite of its proximity to the main road. At short notice, I hurriedly converted an old wooden drawer into a hedgehog hibernation/release box. On the agreed day, the vet brought the three animals round for release.
Since the release, one adult and one juvenile have been seen in both my neighbour’s and our garden regularly during the summer months. Sadly, a similar-sized juvenile was found dead on the road 50 metres from our house.
In the autumn, we covered the hedgehog box with brash and rocks in my neighbour’s garden and will monitor their progress. Supplemented of course by the obligatory nightly feeds!