Caring workmen rescue six baby hedgehogs and their mum in Pulborough

A family of hedgehogs has been rescued from a garden in Pulborough for temporary rehoming while a new hedgehog house is built for them.

Thursday, 21st October 2021, 12:06 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st October 2021, 12:09 pm

The prickly family was discovered by UK Power Networks’ linesmen Lee Cocklin and Danny Bishop in Stane Street while they were moving cables onto a new electricity pole.

The team phoned the company’s environment adviser and consulted an ecologist before getting in touch with Rangers Lodge Wildlife Hospital, in Horsham, where the hedgehogs will be cared for until they are ready to be released back to the wild at the spot where they were found.

Lee said: “A fence panel was lying down near the electricity pole and we had to move it to carry out the work. I didn’t see them at first, because they were covered in grass. They were snuggled up together in the nest.

UK Power Networks’ linesman Lee Cocklin placing one of the hedgehogs into a box

“A couple woke up and started walking away so Dan and I put them back in the nest with the others and made calls. A lady gave us a shoebox and we put them in that to keep them safe until our engineer arrived with a bigger box and he took them to the wildlife centre.

“It was very exciting to see them, and I’ve heard they are doing well, which is good.”

Jane Burrows, founder and chairman of Rangers Lodge Wildlife Hospital, said: “They have their mum with them and she is providing them with plenty of fat and nutrients in her milk, and they are well developed babies. In the wild she would be taking them round the garden foraging, showing them what to do.

“The owner of the house will be taking them back but doesn’t have a hedgehog house yet and a normal sized hedgehog house won’t cover it. She is getting someone to make a big house so they can go back to the habitat they know, so they will only be staying with us temporarily.”

Volunteer Pauline Harris from Rangers Lodge Wildlife Hospital with the hedgehog family

The mum weighed 1050g and the babies were about 235g. Hedgehogs need to weigh about 600g to hibernate, but often only hibernate when food sources disappear such as slugs, worms and beetles. The family will be fed on dry cat food and tinned meaty cat food until they can be released.

Heather Patrick, UK Power Networks’ environment adviser, said: “I found a wildlife hospital nearby which was able to take them and advised the team to put them in a box with a towel and any nest material and deliver them to the hedgehog hospital.

“Hedgehogs are endangered and at risk of extinction, so every hedgehog family saved is a win.

“At this time of year babies are more vulnerable and need to be a certain weight to survive the winter months. If you come across hedgehogs late in the season it is a good idea to weigh them before deciding whether to release them or contact a rescue centre.”

Loss of hedgerows, garden fencing without hedgehog access, strimming and bonfires all result in casualties arriving at the wildlife hospital, which is currently caring for 50 hedgehogs.

Rangers Lodge Wildlife Hospital treat sick injured and orphaned animals with the aim of releasing them back to the wild at safe release sites. They rely on volunteers and donations to run the hospital. To support their work visit: rangerslodgewildlifehospital.wordpress.com/