TREVOR WEEKS MBE - Top tips for animal safety over the bonfire season

The injured badger in Pyecoomb, just north of Brighton. SUS-141020-093304001 SUS-141020-093304001
The injured badger in Pyecoomb, just north of Brighton. SUS-141020-093304001 SUS-141020-093304001
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I love this photo! These are two of the triplets we have in at the moment who came in a week ago Sunday night.

They are all around 190grams at the moment, but doing well, sleeping like logs bless them. We are starting to see more and more hedgehogs coming to care. Next week I’ll talk more about hedgehogs and their weights for surviving hibernation.

Trevor's Week SUS-141020-090633001 SUS-141020-090633001

Trevor's Week SUS-141020-090633001 SUS-141020-090633001

Thank you to Hailsham Bonfire Society for allowing us to participate in their procession last weekend, due to illness a number of people were unable to take part, but Laura and Lilian went dressed up as Foxes. So thank you to everyone who donated. We have another team taking part in the Lewes Bonfire Processions on 5th November too.

Keeping with the bonfire season, WRAS has issued its annual plea to people to consider wildlife and follow our top ten tips for keeping wildlife safe. WRAS’s top ten bonfire safety tips are:

1) Re-site the entire bonfire pile before being lit where possible.

2) Use broom handles to lift the bonfire up to check for wildlife sleeping inside before lighting the fire. Use torches to check underneath and listen carefully for any signs of life.

3) With larger bonfires, erect a mesh fence with an overhang round the bonfire to avoid small wild mammals getting inside.

4) Light the bonfire at one side rather than all round so that any animals or bird inside have a chance to escape.

5) Move bird feeders and other food left out on the ground for wildlife away from the bonfire site for at least a week before building a bonfire.

6) Light bonfires away from over hanging trees and bushes

7) Use fireworks away from trees and woodland.

8) Place a hedgehog house or simple small hutch with clean and fresh straw, hay and hand shredded paper to provide an alternative home for any animals which might be visiting your garden.

9) Have a bucket of water available in case you need to put out the fire or an animal on fire.

10) Know who to call if you find an injured wildlife casualty.

WRAS’s next unusual quiz night will be taking place at East Dean Village Hall on Saturday November 1. Our unusual quiz nights are fun evenings full of unusual questions, including items to taste, smell, questions which involve you watching, remembering, and listening, as well as practical tasks too. This quiz has a general Halloween theme! Doors will open at 7pm, meal served from 7.15pm onwards. The quiz starts at 8pm. Tickets are £10 in advance. Tickets are available from Lindsay Redfern by calling 01825-873003.

WRAS received a call on Saturday evening from the Badger Trust Sussex. They had been unable to get anyone else to attend so tried WRAS. They had reports of an injured badger in Pyecombe, just north of Brighton. Our weekend care team, Chris and Kirsti, were the closest and rushed to assess the situation. The finders had stayed with the badger which made it so much easier to find as a result or Chris and Kirsti could have been searching for ages. The 10kg adult was dazed and confused and was easily caught. It is unclear exactly the cause of the concussion but it is most likely the poor creature has been knocked by a car. On arrival back at WRAS’s Casualty Centre, Kathy and I drove down to meet the badger to administer first aid and help with the handling and assessment. He has an injury to his foot, also some fly strike. He was given medication after talking the situation over with our vet Simon and then was bedded down for the night.

That night turned out to be a busy one for Chris who was on call. He had to rush to the aid of a fox hit by a car outside Uckfield hospital. Luckily Chris and his partner Laura weren’t too far away from the area. On arrival the fox couldn’t be seen, sadly a puddle of blood was spotted and a trail leading to some nearby thorn bushes. Chris climbed through the bushes to find the fox which had dragged herself through to a fence but couldn’t go any further. Sadly she was paralysed, most likely due to severe injuries to her back and pelvis. Our on call vet Mike very kindly agreed to see her, but sadly she passed away before she got there.

Other calls this week have included rescuer Tony dealing with a cat attacked robin in Wannock lane and injured wood pigeon in Jevington. Also ambulances have been out to a small manic hedgehog running round a garden in Langney, an injured wood pigeon from near All Saints Church, Eastbourne, and a hedgehog out during the day in Barrons Way, Polegate. Cliffe Vets at Ringmer also called us to a very poorly hedgehog found out during the day, sadly this little chap passed away, and a post mortem examination showed a huge abscess in the chest cavity.

Our Centre Manager Lindsay and retired teacher Sue had a great morning last week talking to children from Our Lady Queen of Heaven Primary School in Crawley. The children were very excited to learn about Wildlife and the work we do at WRAS. If your school would be interested in a presentation from WRAS then please contact Lindsay on lindsay@eastsussexwras.org.uk or visit our website: http://wildlifeambulance.org/educational-resources/school-college-presentations/ to find out more.