Western Morning News

Charity calls for help to save species in trouble

Hedgehogs should be snoozing right now, but many are in need of a good meal. Frankie Mills reports

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AHEDGEHOG charity in South Devon is calling out for donations as they are currently experienci­ng large numbers in need of aid.

Prickles in a Pickle have a maximum capacity of 140 and have been averaging between 90 and 130 hedgehogs over the last year. “We’re experienci­ng much higher numbers. It’s been national, not just local. Between April and December last year we took in 534,” said Judy Thomson, who co-founded the charity with Alan Pook.

Prickles in a Pickle provide medical care, nutritiona­l meals, and a warm, safe place to hedgehogs that have been spotted displaying unusual behaviours; such as activity during the daytime, visible injuries, or nesting in odd places.

“We’ve had postmen finding them on people’s doormats,” said Judy. As nocturnal animals, the only time a hedgehog should be seen in daylight is when a mum is building her nest, said Judy. “She will be moving with purpose and carrying stuff on her back.”

Prickles in a Pickle cited climate change and lockdown as some of the biggest reasons that the charity are experienci­ng a higher number of hedgehogs. “We’re getting warmer and wetter. Illnesses tend to thrive and it has an effect on when they have their babies,” said Judy. “Last year I had six under 100 grams brought in the night before Christmas Eve, which is very unusual.”

Judy also said that more hedgehogs were brought to them in lockdown, as people became aware of what was happening in their garden and invested in what they were seeing.

“It’s not that there are more hedgehogs about, it’s that they are just not able to live a natural life like they used to. We are encroachin­g more and more on their natural habitat,” she said. “We have to try and save each and everyone,” added Judy. “Generally, we have a very good rate of success. Once they are in having the right treatment they respond very well.”

The other work that Prickles in a Pickle undertakes is to educate people on how to care for hedgehogs

‘It’s not that there are more hedgehogs about. We’re encroachin­g on their habitat’ JUDY THOMSON

and make their gardens safe and accessible places for them.

“The two best things that anyone can do is make sure their garden has a little corridor leading to other gardens. It keeps them off the road and away from badgers. And also leave a shallow bowl of water out for them.”

Gardeners should also check before digging or strimming in their gardens. A lot of hedgehogs are brought for treatment as a result of injuries caused while gardening.

To find out how to help go to pricklesin­apickle.co.uk

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