Diary of a Hedgehog

Heather the Hedgehogs’ fight for survival.

Our latest edition…. for the short term. Not our usual type of rescue but when I found her in the garden the little knowledge I did have of hedgehogs meant that she was definitely too small to survive the winter, her only chance would be to see if we could overwinter her with us. Here is her story.

Probably born around 16 September these late juveniles are unlikely to survive the winter as ideally you are looking at a weight of around 650g.

Monday 21.10.19 Weight 222g Age: 5 weeks
Found in the garden early evening weighing just 222g I realise that she is going to need help, so I wrap her in my jumper and find her a nice warm pad to snuggle up to, to warm her up.

Tuesday 22.10.19 Weight 244g
Having warmed her up she was offered food and water. An increase of 22g overnight. Really pleased with that.

Wednesday 23.10.19 Weight 251g
Another small increase of 7g

Thursday 24.10.19 Weight 255g
Again a very small increase of 4g. Would have expected more so now seek help from 7th Heaven Hedgehog Rescue run by Sue.

Friday 25.10.19 Weight 253g
A loss of 2 grams. Sue feels that she may have a parasitic infection, most likely lungworm which is very common in these late juveniles. They die without treatment. So we arrange to take Heather to Sue’s rescue at Retford.

Saturday 26.10.19
Sue confirms via a faecal sample and we can see for ourselves from the microscope, that Heather does indeed have lungworm. She will stay with Sue for the 3 days that she needs treatment. The rescue is rammed! Sue is grateful than we are prepared to care for Heather ourselves.

Ready for her return

Monday 28.10.19 Age 6 weeks
Heather is back home with us for a while before her next treatment. Lovely to have her back.

Tuesday 29.10.19 Weight 269g – 47g increase for week 1
An increase of 16g since we last weighed her. Hoping it won’t be long before her medication kicks in and she starts to feel a bit better.

Wednesday 30.10.19 Weight 276g
A small increase of 7g, but at least a step in the right direction.

Thursday 31.10.19 Weight 265g
A loss of 11g. Fingers crossed she is just feeling under the weather because of the lung worm.

Friday 01.11.19 Weight 278g
At last, an increase 13g. Makes me feel a bit better, hopefully Heather is too!

Saturday 02.11.19 Weight 269g
A loss of 9g. Concerned for her welfare now.

Sunday 03.11.19 Weight 269g
Spoke to Georgia who runs Spikey Critters. She suggests that I put a heated pad back in for Heather and send a further sample to the Vale Wildlife Hospital prior to taking her to Sue’s.

Wide awake club this morning!

Monday 04.11.19 Weight 287g – Age 7 weeks – 18g increase week 2
Increase of 18g. Looks like someone was cold, despite being kept indoors.

Tuesday 05.11.19 Weight 306g
Another good increase of 19g. Feeling optimistic.

Wednesday 06.11.19 Weight 298g
Loss of 8g. Gutted that her weight is wavering so much. Back to Sue’s for her next round of treatment. Fingers crossed this finally gets rid of them for her. Faecal sample sent to Vale Wildlife Hospital. Told Sue I would let her now if it shows anything else.

Thursday 07.11.19
Missing her little grumpy self! Roll on Saturday when we can go and collect her. Vale Wildlife Hospital confirm that she still has crenosoma (lungworm) larvae, which Sue is already treating her for. Just happy nothing else is showing.

Friday 08.11.19
DISASTER! Heavy rains in and around Sheffield. Sue is out at Retford and she if flooded! Puts a call out on facebook if anyone can come and take a hedgehog. She has them floating in the shed and is desperate to get them to safety. Kelvyn is our hero (as Dave is working) and offers to go and collect Heather for us. Back home, she has missed her last treatment but has survived her ordeal. Time to get her warm and settled back in!

Saturday 09.11.19 Weight 270g
A loss of 28g. Hardly surprising when you think what she has been through over the last few days. Sue confirmed that Heather was one of those whose container was found floating in the water so she must have been very cold bless her. Hopefully she recognises where she is and feels safe and warm.

Sunday 10.11.19 Weight 290g
An increase of 20g! I am happy with that.

Keep out! I’m asleep!

Monday 11.11.19 Weight 313g – Age 8 weeks – 26g increase week 3
Another good increase of 23g. Making up for lost time bless her!

Tuesday 12.11.19 Weight 330g
Increase of 17g. Feeling good!

Wednesday 13.11.19 Weight 349g
Increase of 19g. Piling on those grams!

Thursday 14.11.19 Weight 362g
Increase of 13g. Keep going girl!

Friday 15.11.19 Weight 394g
Increase of 32g. Biggest increase we have ever had from her!

Saturday 16.11.19 Weight 407g
Increase of 13g. Yeah! Cracked the 400g! Need a box to weigh her in now as she can escape the scales!

Sunday 17.11.19 Weight 423g
Increase of 16g. So pleased with her progress.

I can’t smell any food!

Monday 18.11.19 Weight 433g – Age 9 weeks – 120g increase week 4
Increase of 13g. Feel like we have really turned a corner as she has put on 120g in one week.
Further faecal sample sent to Vale Wildlife Hospital.

Tuesday 19.11.19 Weight 444g
Increase of 11g. Now twice the weight than when I found her (222g). Heather’s baby spines are now beginning to be replaced by her grown up ones (apparently known as quilling) and Vale Wildlife Hospital have confirmed that her tests are now clear! Daring to feel a little more optimistic about this little one’s future.

Wednesday 20.11.19 Weight 465g
Increase of 21g.

Thursday 21.11.19 Weight 468g
Increase of 3g.

Friday 22.11.19 Weight 479g
Increase of 11g.

Saturday 23.11.19 Weight 493g
Increase of 14g

Sunday 24.11.19 Weight 489g
Loss of 4g. I am hoping that this is due to the party she had last night as the dishes, including the water have been tipped over. Time to put in some heavier bowls now that she is gaining some weight!

Last nights party!

Monday 25.11.19 Weight 539g – Age 10 weeks – 106g increase week 5
Increase of 50g! Wow! Must have been some party last night judging by the state of the cage and the huge weight increase!

Tuesday 26.11.19 Weight 552g
Increase of 13g. We are getting quite huffy and puffy about being disturbed every morning to be cleaned and weighed! But it’s got to be done!

Wednesday 27.11.19 Weight 564g
Increase of 13g. Nice steady increase. I am noticing that it is difficult to get her in the box to weigh her! Growing every day!

Thursday 28.11.19 Weight 580g
Increase of 15g. New box for weighing her in, but at this rate if the box is any bigger I won’t get it on the scales!

Friday 29.11.19 Weight 597g
Increase of 17g. Heading towards the 600g mark! Very grumpy this morning though huffing away at me!

Saturday 30.11.19 Weight 609g
Increase of 12g. Yeah! Over the 600g! Just leaving food down at night now, rather than 24/7. We don’t want her getting too big which can happen when they are over wintering as they are not getting the exercise they normally would and it stops them rolling in to a ball if they are overweight.

Sunday 01.12.19 Weight 627g
Increase of 18g. I’ll tell you what! Someone’s spines are getting seriously spikey, despite my best thorn proof gardening gloves!

Starting to fill that box!

Monday 02.12.19 Weight 0.63kg – Age 11 weeks – 88g increase week 6
I have changed my scales this morning to the Marsden animal scales. They don’t measure in grams, just in kg so it may be a few days before they register an increase in her weight. I have also cut down on her dry food in an effort to encourage her to eat more wet which is not so calorific.

Tuesday 03.12.19 Weight 0.65kg
Increase of 20g. She has been tucking in to her wet hedgehog food no problem. Really happy with her progress. She is now at the ideal weight you would expect a hedgehog to start hibernating.

Wednesday 04.12.19 Weight 0.65kg
Seems to be settling in to her new routine of only eating at night now.

Thursday 05.12.19 Weight 0.67kg
Increase of 20g. Now we are heading towards the 700g mark – might have to get her a new bed!

Friday 06.12.19 Weight 0.69kg
Increase of 20g. We’ll be at 700g before we know it!

Saturday 07.12.19 Weight 0.70kg
Increase of 10g. At there it is! A whopping 700g!

Sunday 08.12.19 Weight 0.71kg
Increase of 10g. Not sure this diet is working!

Getting a big girl now!

Monday 09.12.19 Weight 0.73kg – Age 12 weeks – 103g increase week 7
Increase of 20g. So much on the news lately about young hoglets being found. At this rate maybe the hedgehog will no longer be in decline!

Tuesday 10.12.19 Weight 0.73kg
Weight the same. Spines seem to be quite sparse so seeking.

Wednesday 11.12.19 Weight 0.74kg
Increase of 10g. Extra bedding added as she seems to be dragging anything and everything in to the nest.

Thursday 12.12.19 Weight 0.72kg
Loss of 20g. This may be because we have turned the heating down, so maybe it’s a bit too cold for her now!

Friday 13.12.19 Weight 0.73kg
Increase of 10g. Bedding all over this morning and nest rearranged!

Saturday 14.12.19 Weight 0.73g
No increase. Started treating her for mites after seeking some advice as her ‘coat’ doesn’t seem to be quite right and I am not sure in the atmosphere is too dry for her.

Sunday 15.12.19 Weight 0.75kg
Increase 20g. Heating turned up a notch, seems to be working.

Bad hair day!

Monday 16.12.19 Weight 0.74kg – Age 13 weeks – 10g increase week 8
Loss of 10g. Faecal sample sent to Georgie at Spikey Critters to test for parasites.

Tuesday 17.12.19 Weight 0.77kg
Increase of 30g. Faecal sample all clear!

Wednesday 18.12.19 Weight 0.76kg
Loss of 10g.

Thursday 19.12.19 Weight 796g
Increase of 36g. Check up at White Cross Vets. Vet is happy with her progress. Spines are maybe a bit sparse but nothing that compromise her when she is released in the spring. A quick look under the microscope at a few of her spines, didn’t reveal anything. Advised to continue with the Ivermectin and then put her in to hibernation in January.

Friday 20.12.19 Weight 780g
Loss of 16g. Piece of bedding had soaked up her water.

Saturday 21.12.19 Weight 795g
Increase of 15g. 2 drops of Ivermectin.

Sunday 22.12.19 Weight 793g
Loss of 3g.

Heather’s nest

Monday 23.12.19 Weight 800g – Age 14 weeks – 60g increase week 9
Increase of 7g. Yeah we have finally reached the 800g, from her original 222g.

Tuesday 24.12.19 Weight 822g
Increase of 22g. Heather is now a full 600g heavier than when I found her

Wednesday 25.12.19 Weight 845g
Increase of 23g. Happy Christmas from Heather!

Thursday 26.12.19 Weight 846g
Increase of 1g. Bedding in her water bowl again! Just goes to show how important it is for hedgehogs to have access to water!

Friday 27.12.19 Weight 865g
Increase of 19g. Getting ready for hibernation in the new year!

Saturday 28.12.19 Weight 870g
Increase of 5g. Last lot of Ivermectin. Skin is looking better.

Sunday 29.12.19 Weight 884g
Increase of 5g.

Quite a handful now!

Monday 30.12.19 Weight 862g – Age 15 weeks – 62g increase week 10
Loss of 22g. Once again she has put her bedding in the water! Think I am going to have to give her 2 water dishes!

Tuesday 31.12.19 Weight 884g
Increase of 22g. A good drink has put the weight back on that she lost yesterday.

Wednesday 01.01.20 Weight 885d
Increase of 1g

Thursday 02.01.20 Weight 903g
Increase of 17g

Friday 03.01.20 Weight 924g
Increase of 21g

Time to prepare for a short period of hibernation.

Saturday 04 January

Saturday 04.01.20
Moved her outside in to the cat pen where she is protected but it is cold enough for her to want to hibernate. Exploring her new home before she makes her nest.

Sunday 05 January

Sunday 05.01.20
She had used all of the bedding material we had left her – hay, barley straw, leaves and shredded newspaper! Must be one hell of a nest in there! More nesting material added. It is important now not to disturb the nest she has made.

PLEASE NOTE: I am no hedgehog expert! I have been able to take care of Heather thanks to Sue at 7th Heaven Hedgehog Rescue and Georgie from Spikey Critters who have been kind enough to pass on their knowledge and expertise and answer my numerous questions! Thank you too, to Kelvyn for his Hedgehog Taxi Service whenever we needed it and of course to my husband Dave, who as always has supported me – no matter what mad cap idea I come up with! xxx