Hedgehogs are so good for gardens

A hedgehog has its wounds cleaned.
A hedgehog has its wounds cleaned.

On behalf of all of us here at the David Rollo Centre I would like to send New Year greetings to everyone who has kindly supported us in 2015.

We get so much help with supplies of food, this includes Morrisons for a donation of canned dog food, Anne Edney bringing sprats for sea birds, Reivers Fish Bar for offcuts of fish, Sean Dixon for mackerel, Fords the Bakers for bread, Steve Laidlaw who helps with lettuces and Simpsons for grain.

We also have a large number of people too many to name, who come in week after week with bags of mealworms and tins of dog food, newspapers and road kill for larger birds of prey.

As I am writing these notes quite early to meet the deadline for the holiday publication I decided to look back over the hedgehogs we have had in our care this year.

One thing that interested me was the reasons why the hogs needed treatment. They can take care of themselves by rolling up to protect themselves from cats and dogs but they do seem to get into trouble all by themselves. We have had some tricky rescues, a hog got himself wedged between two house walls which were only a few inches apart. It took some time to get it out. Another got stuck in a drain pipe and had wedged himself in very tightly. It took quite a while to prise him out. Another fell in an ornamental pond, and was found on the base of a fountain in the middle just above the water.

We have had several caught in garden netting which winds round the animals. This can cause awful injuries and result in the loss of limbs.

They also eat slug pellets which nearly always results in death, we can do very little to help a hog in this case. Garden tools are also a danger, one of our hogs was caught by a strimmer cutting very deeply across the hogs head. It needed very time consuming treatment each day for a couple of months but it did recover. The photo this week shows a hedgehog having wounds cleaned.

There is some good news for hedgehogs. We find people are much more aware of hedgehogs now and understand how they are a great help in any garden.

Many visitors to the Rollo Centre seem very keen to help the hogs and many leave food out for them when the weather is very dry in the summer, and leave places for them to hibernate in the winter. They also keep an eye on them and if they are seen out during the day will bring them in for us to check. It is a sure sign that something is wrong if they are out in daylight.

I’m not sure if I have one in my garden now although I make sure there is a cosy place or two for them to hibernate so there may be one tucked up for the winter. Having a hedgehog in the garden gave me the best display of Hostas I ever had. Not a bite out of any leaves and not a slug in sight. So please keep bringing us any wildlife casualty you find and thank you for all your help and a very Happy New Year to all.