Tuesday 28 May 2013

Sad Story with Hedgehog

When my parents were here earlier this month, my Papa mentioned he had seen a hedgehog in our garden. This was news to me. I got fairly excited, because I love hedgehogs and hate slugs, so this seemed like a win-win situation.

On the Sunday after my birthday party, I had just snuggled down on the sofa for an afternoon nap (yes, I am an old lady!) when I heard my Papa calling me from the patio to come look at the aforementioned hedgehog. I was up again in a flash and went into the garden. And there it was, right on the lawn in broad daylight. Which was strange, as hedgehogs usually are nocturnal. I went and grabbed my camera and approached the little fellow for a better look. This is when I saw that he was dragging his hind legs and couldn't really walk. There seemed to be some open sores as well. Not good.

He scurried away into the plant beds and I cracked open a bag of wet cat food that I gave to him. He appeared to be hungry and heartily tucked into the free meal. The cats hung around in a safe distance, seemingly confused a) by the hedgehog's very present and b) by the fact that it was eating their food.

While the hedgehog was having its snack, I consulted the present family members and the internet on how to deal with the situation, as I didn't feel it would be right not to help an animal that was clearly injured. I found the very helpful online presence of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, which listed instructions on what to do if you are concerned about a hedgehog you found.

So I donned my gardening gloves and made Marco climb into the attic for a hedgehog receptacle (aka big box) and scooped the patient up. I could feel him try and roll himself into a ball around my hand, hedgehog muscles seem quite strong. He looked fairly dirty, though, and seemed to have a tick attached to his ear. I  put him into the box with the food and some water, and then called the number on the website. After a few more phone calls, I was routed to a wildlife rescue centre near where we live. I phoned them and they said to come by.

On the drive to the rescue centre, I named the hedgehog Quintus (for it was the 5th of May...) and fantasized about the great future he would have once he was healthy again and could return to my garden in an official capacity as slug obliterator. Hm. I should not have gotten so attached.

The lady at the centre had a quick look at Quintus, pointed out that he was severely dehydrated and said that there were two options: the vet would come on Tuesday and if he would have to amputate (what?!) one leg only, Quintus could go and live in the centre's Hedgehog Garden. If both legs were beyond healing, then the only humane thing would be to put him to sleep. I asked if Marco and I could not simply adopt and save the hog in any case, but she explained that he would probably become depressed and wouldn't be very happy. She was really nice and thanked us for caring, and she also said that we could call on the Wednesday to find out about Quintus' fate.

Wimpy as I am, I made Marco deal with that phone call. Sadly, he did not report back with good news. The vet only determined that both the sweet little guy's hind legs were broken and that he also had an infected open wound festering on his underbelly, so he could not be saved. I was really, really sad about this, but also glad that we had helped tiny Quintus and that he did not have to suffer any longer. 

Here is a video of him that I took while he was eating. May he have gone to hedgehog heaven! 

I don't know how 'our' hedgehog came by his injuries, but please make sure that you always check your garden for wildlife before you use any tools that could injure an animal. Also try and cover any holes that could act as a trap or attach the netting that protects your vegetables from birds higher than a hedgehog, so that they do not get entangled. You can see this leaflet for more hedgehog-saving advice or check the Hedgehog Society website for more tips on how to be nice to these useful, adorable animals. Thanks!

© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).


  1. Awww, this story is so heart breaking. Poor little hedgie, I'm glad you did all you could to help him.

    Max and I proud donators to hedgehog rescues societies.


    1. Me too. I wish he could have been saved.

  2. Oh this is too sad. Poor little hedgehog. And although the outcome was not good, you were fortunate to experience such a meeting.

    1. Thanks, Loulou. It was really special to have this little creature in my care for a bit. But I really don't deal well with anybody or anything suffering. :o(

      Have a nice weekend!




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