A baby hedgehog had to be rescued on Monday after being found stuck in a Christmas bauble at a pub in Isfield.
Volunteer rescuers from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) were called out by staff at the Laughing Fish pub who discovered a baby hedgehog in distress.
WRAS founder Trevor Weeks MBE said: “The call was received at 10.30am and the caller reported finding a small hedgehog with a piece of plastic stuck on its back and clearly in distress.”
An ambulance was on site within 30 minutes.
Rescuer Kathy Martyn explained: “At first it looked like there was a crab apple or something stuck on the hedgehog’s spines, but on closer inspection you could see it was plastic and attached.
“Trevor and I soon found that the object was a Christmas bauble with a hanging loop for attaching to Christmas trees, which was caught round her body.”
The loop of the bauble went across the back and under her belly and was embedded into the body through various scabs and wounds.
Trevor said: “You could smell the infection and obviously the hedgehog had got her head and left leg through the loop when she was much smaller and as she had grown the loop became more and more tight.
“This would have eventually killed the baby hedgehog if it had been left so was extremely lucky to have been found and saved thanks to the observant staff at the Laughing Fish.”
Trevor and Kathy rushed the 186gram hedgehog to Henley House Veterinary Surgery, Uckfield, where veterinary nurse Jenny Pike RVN and vet Chris Hall MRCVS gave her a general anaesthetic in order to clean and treat her wounds better.
“I have never seen such an unusual cause of a ligature wound and pressure necrosis on a wild animal before,” said Trevor. We see similar wounds caused by elastic bands, snares and netting but not caused by a Christmas bauble.”
The hedgehog, named ‘Izzy’ after Isfield, has been admitted to WRAS’s casualty care centre at Whitesmith.
Kathy is hopeful she will recover fully: “Izzy will need daily monitoring and her wounds cleaning. Luckily there is already granulation tissue developing. We just hope she is strong enough to survive the treatment and we can get on top of the infection.”