Go the whole hog

Irish Sunday Mirror - - PET TALK - BY KAREN ROCKETT an­drew­shedge­hog hospi­tal.org.uk

CAR­ING Frank and Veron­ica Tett are over­run with hedge­hogs – af­ter turn­ing their home into a hospi­tal for des­per­ate or­phans. The kitchen pro­vides triage and med­i­ca­tion. Their spare bed­room is in­ten­sive care. And their own bed­room is a nurs­ery.

The cou­ple cur­rently care for more than 80 hoglets but have had over 500 pa­tients this year be­cause of the un­usu­ally hot weather.

Their moth­ers be­come too de­hy­drated to pro­duce milk so they leave their vul­ner­a­ble ba­bies be­hind to go and look for water in­stead.

But trag­i­cally many mums never re­turn.

Frank, 80, said: “Dur­ing the re­cent dry weather we’ve had about 70 or 80 ba­bies at one time.

“We’re in touch with ma­jor res­cue centres across Bri­tain and they’re all hav­ing the same prob­lems.

“Ev­ery room in our house is taken up with hedge­hogs.

“The only room that they are not al­lowed in is the sit­ting room.”

The cou­ple say they have a 65 per cent suc­cess rate at their Andrew’s Hedge­hog Hospi­tal – named af­ter a blind crea­ture the cou­ple once took in.

They hand-rear the an­i­mals un­til they are strong enough to be re­leased in the wild – of­ten on coun­try es­tates in­clud­ing Princess Diana’s for­mer an­ces­tral home Althorp. But with their own house near Scun­thorpe, Lincs, full the cou­ple want to set up a new hospi­tal in a €110,000 ecofriendly log cabin with state of the art fa­cil­i­ties. So far they have raised €55,000. For­mer sales and mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor Frank said: “It will boast all that’s re­quired to nurse, care for and house sick and in­jured hedge­hogs to get them back to their chip­per, for­ag­ing selves in the wild. “We aren’t get­ting any younger. I’m 80 and Veron­ica is a cou­ple of years be­hind me and we want to leave a le­gacy.” Since the 1960s the UK has lost 95 per cent of its prickly pop­u­la­tion – down from 30mil­lion to one mil­lion.. “Hedge­hogs are Bri­tain’s best-loved wild an­i­mal,” Frank said. “There’s ev­i­dence to sug­gest num­bers are sta­bil­is­ing which is ex­cel­lent as they’re an en­dan­gered and pro­tected species.” The Bri­tish Hedge­hog Preser­va­tion So­ci­ety says if you find an aban­doned hoglet “con­stant warmth and reg­u­lar feed­ing and toi­let­ing is es­sen­tial. “Their best chance of sur­vival is with some­one ex­pe­ri­enced with their care.” Do­nate to help build the new hospi­tal at

HOSPI­TAL GRUB Hoglets get nour­ish­ing food

LE­GACY Frank and Veron­ica

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