We first heard about Pricklebums Hedgehog Rescue, when Vicki rescued one from her own back garden, googling for help brought up Ailie Hill and her amazing (& award winning!) shed….
Ailie is one of a number of hedgehog carers around the country, who have joined the fight to save these much-loved and protected species, and for the past four years she has run Pricklebums Hedgehog Rescue from her home near Ludlow.
“Hedgehogs are definitely my passion, they are very special creatures and so unique. When first encountered all you see is a huffy ball of prickles, but in fact underneath they have the cutest little faces and soft furry tummies. They’ve totally stolen my heart”
Since opening up her shed Ailie has cared for more than 500 sick, injured or orphaned hedgehogs.
Life as a hedgehog carer is an all year round occupation; from orphaned baby hedgehogs in the spring and summer, to juveniles born later in the year needing to be over-wintered, as well as all those injured and ill coming in throughout the year. They are handled as little as possible during their stay with Ailie to ensure they don’t lose their natural fear of humans.
Once a hedgehog has been rehabilitated and is in good health they can be released back into the wild. This might be the garden they came from or another designated release site.
“We mostly ‘soft release’ where the hedgehog is accommodated in a secure pen for up to a week, so it can acclimatise to the area before being let go.
Some hedgehogs may never be able to go back to the wild so these are released into a secure, enclosed garden where they can live without fear of predators” explains Ailie, who is supported by a small number of volunteers.
Pricklebums is funded through voluntary donations and has housing for around 50 residents.
Useful hedgehog facts:
- The hedgehog is Britain’s only spiny mammal.
- There were 30 million roaming around the countryside 60 years ago, today their numbers are in serious decline.
- They are nocturnal, so if you see a hedgehog out in daylight that’s a clear sign something is wrong.
- It’s a common misconception that they sunbathe.
- Avoid using slug pellets if at all possible.
- If you disturb a hedgehog nest, cover it up and leave it alone, because mother hedgehogs can abandon or eat their young if stressed.”
- Check bonfires before it is lit to ensure there aren’t any hedgehogs inside.