TREVOR WEEKS MBE - Spate of hedgehogs treated for fly eggs and maggots

Two more badgers vaccinated this week.
Two more badgers vaccinated this week.

There has been a common seal on the beach at Saltdean last weekend.

He was attracting quite a lot of attention and we’ve had numerous calls about him, but our colleagues from British Divers Marine Life Rescue have been keeping an eye on him.

He apparently looked in fairly good condition, was alert and has been sun bathing on one of the groynes. People are always surprised when they see one, but they are more common on our coast that people realise.

We’ve had a spate of hedgehogs coming in covered in fly eggs and maggots this past week. Two nasty hedgehog cases were dealt with last weekend at the same time. The first, at Rodmell, was an adult hedgehog which had been caught in garden netting for three days. The poor creature had severe fly strike and maggots. After managing to uncurl the hedgehog a mass of large maggots fell onto the examination table and the ligature wound underneath the neck was necrotic and full of maggots. He was in a poor way. The second was a young hedgehog, one of this years, found on an allotment at Ridgewood in Uckfield. Again, very cold, lethargic, and cover in fly eggs and maggots. The poor little thing was skin and bones. There were numerous puncture wounds which may be from a predator - dog, fox or something. We worked on both hedgehogs for over an hour and called out Mike, one of our vets, but sadly their condition proved just too severe and we had no choice but to put them to sleep. So upsetting when you have worked on them for so long trying to pull them back. Further cases came in through the week including one from Eastbourne and Herstmonceux.

We have also admitted several hedgehogs with missing, injured or infected eyes too. One was picked up from St Johns Church Yard in Lewes thanks to the Sussex Wildlife Trust. This week has been fairly costly as these hedgehogs have needed to go into see our vets and be sedated or anaesthetised so they can be checked over thoroughly.

Thanks to one of our biggest donors we can announce that our Indoor Nature Trail is now Free Entry, although donations are very much appreciated. The event is taking place at East Dean Village Hall on October 11th between 11am and 5pm. There is more information on our website at www.wildlifeambulance.org Please support this fantastic event and learn more about our valuable local wildlife! There will be various stalls, crafts, exhibitions, talks and presentations throughout the day. There will be refreshments available. It’s a great hall in a lovely village, you could also enjoy the village green and nearby Tiger Inn too afterwards!

Congratulations to Sharna Richardson from Hastings who has won our T-shirt Design Competition! She has designed a great T-shirt which features the heads of a badger, fox, bird and hedgehog looking up at the word “WRAS” or on the back of the T-shirt the WRAS logo. These Fruits of the Loom T-shirts are available to buy for £12 plus £2.50 postage and packaging. More details are available on our website at www.wildlifeambulance.org/supporters-wearing-new-wras-t-shirt.

One ambulance responded to a warbler which is thought to have had a collision with a window at the Hammonds Drive Police Station in Eastbourne. By the time the bird arrived at WRAS’s centre he was much more lively. He was checked over and after 24 hours observations we were able to send him back and release him back to the wild.

As mentioned previously it’s that time of year when we start getting fungal infections in birds, we have had quite a few pigeons in recently suffering with the infection, but this week we have seen a few smaller birds too, again primarily from the Lewes area. We had another pigeon from the Lamport Estate as well as a finch too, please make sure you clean your bird feeders and tables regularly to reduce the spread of disease.

So after the sparrowhawk in the sports hall in Eastbourne last week we were called to Bar Blue in Pevensey Road, Eastbourne, to rescue a trapped pigeon which had been gate crashing for the previous couple of days. Rescuer Dave and I paid the bar a visit and managed to evicted him using long poles and nets. He was taken outside and released back to the wild, leaving a rather large bar tab for Pink Pigeon Cocktails!

Finally, there were some unexpected visitors to a garden where we have one of our outdoor aviaries near Burgess Hill last week. There were mixed emotions though. These 2 young Roe deer were found running round inside the tennis court and their dead Mum was with them. Chris and Sylvia from Wildlife A&E were on their way and Kathy met them there to help out. It is thought Mum may have been clipped by a car. The youngsters were too scared to find their way out and were charging around colliding with the fence. With Chris inside the tennis court one of them found the exit but the 2nd one was much more flighty. Falling over a number of times the deer stopped to rest, so Kathy and Chris managed to corner him and grabbed hold of him. He was carried outside and they both ran off across the field clearly knowing where they were going. We were lucky that they are old enough to fend for themselves although will be distressed for a while after losing Mum, they are a bit battered and bruised but the wild is the best place for them being such a stressy species. Only a few days later two more roe deer were in the tennis court and again Chris, Sylvia and Kathy attended and managed to encourage them out. At first it was thought they were the same two youngsters but once on site it was clear they were two different deer. A great bit of team work from two dedicated organisations working together to help wildlife!

We’ve also managed to vaccinate two more badgers this week at a badger sett near Eastbourne. The sett was quite inactive sadly but we are going to re-visit next year at a different time of year when activity may change. Badgers don’t live in just one sett but use a series of setts over a social groups territory. We hope to gain additional farms and land in the area which will improve our ability to catch and vaccinate the local badgers even better than we are currently able to.