We all love hedgehogs and always want to do the best for them. They really do need your help and everyone can help in one way or another. The hedgehog population falls every year, so they need our help. What can we do to help them?

Firstly, hedgehogs suffer more than their fair share of ailments, Lungworm just from eating worms, slugs and snails, treatable with telmin and Baytril A/B. Mites/Mange can be cured with Ivermectin drops 0.1%. Ticks need to be removed as 15+ on a hedgehog is life threatening. Intestinal worms are treated with Panacur 10%. Fleas can be safely killed by spraying lightly with Johnsons Antimite spray designed for birds, never use cat and dog flea treatments. Chest infections are common yet easily treated with Baytril A/B 2.5%. Fly eggs and/or Maggots have to be removed using tweezers, toothbrush and flushing with warm water with anticeptic/salt water. These are common problems that we deal with on a daily basis and by no means the full list of ailments that these lovely animals have to deal with.

So what can we do to help hedgehogs?

1/  Feed them. If you have a totally enclosed garden, make at least a couple of 6" x 6" holes under your fence or through the bottom of your fence. Put out a shallow tray of water and some meat based tinned cat/dog food and a shallow tray of cat biscuits. Renew the food and water every eve and remove during the day. A feeding station consisting of a 3 feet square sheet of plywood on 6" legs in each corner, over the food would both keep it dry and prevent cats eating the food. Do NOT give them milk or fish based cat/dog foods. 

2/   Leave at least part of your garden wild and overgrown and provide a hedgehog box in a quiet secluded spot, usually in a corner of your garden. Alternatively you could construct a log pile, which hedgehogs love to build a nest in.

3/  If you have a pond ensure that if a hedgehog fell in, that he would be able to climb out. Do not use slug pellets as these can kill a hedgehog if he eats either the slugs which have eaten the pellets, or eats the pellets.  

4/    Hedgehogs are surprisingly good climbers, so ensure that if you have any low ornamental fencing, the sort of wooden type thats pointed at the top, thats held together with wire or anything similar, then its very dangerous. The reason is that when they climb over, they can trap one or both back legs and be left hanging upside down desperately trying to free himself. Its very common for them to chew their own leg off to free themselves.

5/    A Hedgehog out during the day is normally a sick hedgehog, but NOT always. The exceptions to this is if he has just been disturbed while gardening etc, or a large hedgehog during the summer as it may be a nursing mother with babies to feed. Any large uninjured hedgehog found for example in winter or in the road and picked up for "safety" by well meaning people should be put back away from the road but near where found.  

If enough people did this then the hedgehog would start to make a comeback. We have an infra-red camera in our garden to watch the wild hedgehogs and sometimes other wildlife feeding and find it quite interesting. The interesting thing we notice is the water is usually the first thing they go to. Water is a life saver especially during the summer.

We are always looking for good release gardens for hedgehogs. Your garden needs to be open to other gardens and away from busy roads. You also need to provide a hedgehog box and to feed them each night for as long as they eat it.

John wrote a poem about a baby hedgehog, this can be found at the bottom of our home page. 

Thanks for caring.    John and Tonia

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