Woman saves hedgehogs in Auckland home
An Auckland woman has set up a hedgehog hospital in her home, but experts say the wild animals are pests and should be euthanised.
Monique Jones from Royal Oak has nine recovering hedgehogs in her kitchen, from newborns to adults.
Four years ago Jones found a sick one in her garden and called Hedgehog Rescue in Wellington.
‘‘Every time there’s a hedgehog found in the area I get a phone call from Hedgehog Rescue in Wellington asking to take it in,’’ she said.
Each hedgehog patient has a name. There’s Harry, Ringo, Brillo, Bubba and Blake. But Harry’s her favourite and is a bit of an escape artist.
Unitec associate professor in environmental and animal sciences Nigel Adams said hedgehogs should not be nursed back to health but ‘‘euthanised’’.
‘‘They will predate eggs and small chicks of ground nesting birds, insects including wetas and other invertebrates, skinks and even possibly some native frog species,’’ Adams said.
Jones said she fed the prickly creatures jelly meat and cat biscuits and it was almost a full time job.
She takes them in when they’re sick and unwell, keeps them warm, de-worms them and treats them for mange, caused by mites.
‘‘They’re ready to go back out into the wild after the weather gets warm,’’ she said.
DOC would not provide comment but on its website said hedgehogs posed a threat to native weta, skinks and the eggs and chicks birds.
DOC estimated there were between two and four hedgehogs per hectare in New Zealand and of ground-nesting in some areas as many as eight.
In mid-2009, DOC included hedgehogs in a pest eradication programme on Rangitoto and Motutapu Islands.
However, despite DOC’s stance Jones loves the little creatures and releases them back into the wild in One Tree Hill and other reserves close by.
‘‘They will predate eggs and small chicks of ground nesting birds, insects including wetas and other invertebrates, skinks and even possibly some native frog species.’’
Monique Jones has nursed Ringo the hedgehog back to health in her Royal Oak home.