SOS ... Save Our Sausage
IN early November, when I was putting out pet-shop hedgehog food in our garden on Stukeley Meadows, I saw that there were already two hungry hedgehogs near the food bowl, and that one of them seemed to be very small. The kitchen scales revealed that the
IN early November, when I was putting out pet-shop hedgehog food in our garden on Stukeley Meadows, I saw that there were already two hungry hedgehogs near the food bowl, and that one of them seemed to be very small.
The kitchen scales revealed that the smaller of the two weighed only 327g. To ensure a good chance of survival over winter, a hedgehog should weigh at least 500 to 600g.
My wife christened the little fellow "Sausage", and we decided to do our best to ensure his survival. We took him into our home, and kept him in a clean box full of shredded newspaper in a warm room.
We made enquiries with the Hedgehog Preservation Society via its website, and were put into telephone contact with a trained local volunteer. Under her guidance, Sausage has now been dosed for all the ills that befall small wild creatures, and he has been given a clean bill of health.
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Sausage has been treated with multivitamin drops, Evening Primrose oil, worming mixture and Neem oil. He has been fed prime puppy food and clean, fresh water. His bedding has been changed, and his home disinfected, daily.
His weight has almost doubled in less than three weeks, to 630g.
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Sausage will soon be released back into the wild, to enjoy his freedom (and the purpose-built hedgehog home we will provide in our garden). My wife is looking forward to having fewer slugs and beetles devouring her precious plants, courtesy of Sausage's appetite.
Our only concern is for his safety on the roads. Hedgehogs' nightly patrols for food can extend to a mile, and Sausage's only defence against an on-rushing car is to roll futilely into a spiky ball.
UK hedgehog numbers have halved in the last decade, and they are now officially an endangered species.
Sausage has been loved and cared for. Please respect our concern, and drive carefully.
Sausage's life may depend on it.
SCOTT LECKEY, Stukeley Meadows, Huntingdon