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Hog in trouble

IT was an unexpected start to a relaxing Sunday morning.

As I was about to bite into my peanut butter toast I heard my puppy barking.

Juno barks at pretty much everything – garden gnomes, leaves, watering cans – basically anything she hasn’t seen before.

She appeared to be barking at a brick, jumping back and forth.

As I looked more closely I realised it was a young hedgehog with its foot stuck in the fence.

I got the gardening gloves and gingerly tried to pick it up but its foot was stuck fast.

I put a message out into the neighbourhood Facebook group asking for help.

A neighbour Tommy helped me to free it.

The hog was duly transported to the 24-hour vets to be checked over and x-rayed.

As I speak the youngster is enjoying the equivalent of a hedgehog spa break in a lovely enclosed garden at a hedgehog rescue.

Herbette as I called her, is an autumn juvenile – old enough to leave her mother but not mature enough to feed herself up enough in time for winter.

Hedgehogs must attain a minimum weight of 600 grams to see them through winter according to the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.

People can help hedgehogs by putting out food in autumn – meaty dog or cat food or dry cat biscuits.

Some supermarkets sell special hedgehog food. Only put out water and never cows’ milk.

Bonfires are tempting havens to hedgehogs so people should always lift up the base of the fire with a pole and shine in a torch before lighting it.

Garden ponds can also be hazards for hedgehogs and other small mammals. People can help by placing rocks in the water to allow them to escape if they fall in.

Hedgehogs tend to hibernate between November and mid March.

I was happy to receive a call from the hedgehog rescue asking if I would take Herbette back.

I got out my hedgehog house from the garage, bought for £60 on a whim a couple of years ago, filled it with straw and placed food and water bowls nearby.

Checking the CCTC eagerly I saw Herbette head up the drive.

She hasn’t been back since.

Email telephone 01584 890 801.

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