Two beautiful hedgehogs rescued by our staff are back at Wildwood Escot to be released into the park.
Earlier in July this year, Coach House Restaurant assistant Chelsea Hawkins found four baby hedgehogs, known as ‘hoglets’, on the side of the road needing to be rescued. They were only 4-5 weeks old, and sadly their mother had been killed on the road. Chelsea brought the babies to Wildwood Escot to see if any of our keepers could help with their recovery.
Becky Copland, one of our animal keepers, took them home while she researched a rescue centre for them to go to. Becky provided a warm and comfortable overnight stay for the hoglets; she prepared a hot water bottle covered with a thick towel and a bed of hay, all inside a cosy cardboard box. During their time with our keeper, the hoglets needed food and water – as hedgehogs are naturally lactose intolerant, Becky provided lactose-free milk with a small syringe and fed them every 2-3 hours, even during the night!
Becky coloured each hoglet on their spine individually with chalk pen – by doing this, she was able to identify each of them and monitor their weights and progress with eating, drinking, and urinating. After receiving advice from a local hedgehog volunteer, Becky contacted Prickly Ball Farm who specialise in hedgehog rescue and was able to take them in the day following the rescue.
Now of a good age and weight to go back into the wild, two of these adorable British creatures are back at Wildwood Escot for their release. As the hedgehogs have been kept indoors, we are going to be performing a soft release into the wild. To do this, we shall be keeping them in a hedgehog house for 24 hours; this is so that they can slowly acclimatise to the cooler temperatures of outdoors. Their house is filled with hay, water, and food for the duration of their stay.
Once the 24 hours is over, we shall open the door in the evening – the suggested time of day for hedgehog release – where they can vacate their temporary home at their own pace and explore the park!