To contact Shepreth Wildlife Conservation Charity (SWCC), please call:
07505651968 or 07925174616
HEDGEHOG RELEASE SITE INFORMATION
Thank you for your interest in becoming a release site for hedgehogs in the care of the SWCC Hedgehog Hospital.
Here is some information for use once your garden has been approved.
When you collect your hedgehog(s) please bring with you a clean pet carrier or strong clean cardboard box lined with newspaper and some scrunched up newspaper for cover to transport home.
Hedgehogs need a period of adjustment once they are fit to leave the hospital before final release back into the wild. For this reason, we operate a soft release programme where the hedgehog(s) will have 2 weeks in a pen to adjust to the temperature, noises and smells of outside.
We release an appropriate number of hedgehogs per area depending on the food and nesting sites available. For this reason, we ask that you only release for us and not any other rescues. We also ensure that you have an appropriate mix of genders which could become unbalanced if you also release for other rescues.
You are likely to be allocated 1 or 2 hedgehogs usually twice per year. If you have 2 hedgehogs, please look and listen at night as sometimes they may disagree. This can involve them huffing, puffing and charging at each other, one may stop the other eating and sometimes they can injure each other. They will need to be separated if these things occur so please contact us so we can arrange this.
The release pen – This is something that you can buy or make. The pen should measure at least 5ft square and rabbit runs are usually suitable. It needs to be in a sheltered area of the garden, protected from full sun. Hedgehogs are very good diggers and climbers so it must be secured to the ground and ideally have a secure top. Extra items can be put in for them to explore, for example, leaves and small logs. Daily, any uneaten food and droppings should be removed.
The hedgehog house– This can be bought or made, instructions are available on the BHPS website. Ideally it should be wooden and weatherproof, filled with plenty of straw or hay and each hedgehog will usually require a house each unless it is large. Hedgehogs are normally solitary but may share a house. The house should not be disturbed or cleaned in the 2 weeks of rehabilitation unless you are concerned.
Food– Hedgehogs can be very fussy eaters! While in care they generally have a mix of wet and dry food. A normal portion is 100g of wet food plus a couple of spoons of dry food. Suitable wet foods are dog and cat tins, pouches or pate type trays but these must be meat based and in jelly (no fish flavours or gravy). In warmer weather, this should only be put out at night and removed early in the morning or it will attract flies.
Dry food is very important in preventing dental problems as they get older. There is no need to buy expensive hedgehog food as they favour kitten biscuits available from Tesco and Asda and any small cat biscuits are also suitable (again no fish flavours). You may like to make a mix of biscuits for variety along with sultanas, currants, finely chopped peanuts, sunflower hearts and a few mealworms to make it interesting for them. The majority also enjoy a small piece of fresh banana and apple.
Dishes should be cleaned daily and rinsed with boiling water.
A shallow dish of fresh water should always be available.
Concerns – please let us know if:
– Your hedgehog does not eat for 3 consecutive nights.
– There are any abnormal droppings, blood or mucus which may be green. Please collect in tinfoil and bring to the hospital for testing.
– Your hedgehog escapes.
– You notice any crusting to the ears, face or spine loss.
– Anything else that concerns you.
Release – At the end of the 2 week period the pen may be opened, and the hedgehog is free to go. Some may stay and make use of the house and food for days or sometimes weeks afterwards while others will go at the first opportunity.
Once you are sure the hedgehog has left, the pen and house should be emptied and cleaned. Suitable cleaners are both antibacterial and antifungal. Examples include Anigene or Johnston’s small animal cage cleaner.
Hedgehogs are becoming increasingly reliant upon food left out for them because the loss of habitat and pesticides are reducing their natural food sources, so we hope that you will continue to provide food and water each night. Water in a shallow dish is extremely important in hot dry weather. It is advisable to use a feeding station so that local cats don’t eat all the food! This can be made easily and cheaply by cutting a hole in a plastic storage box and using it to cover the food.
Finally, please let us know if there are any changes in your area. This includes new housing developments, changes to roads (i.e. becoming busier), any changes with wildlife (the presence of foxes or badgers), major gardening work in the neighbourhood (including new ponds) or if you or your neighbours rehome a dog. Please call us to discuss this as soon as possible.