TREVOR WEEKS MBE - Horror injuries as hedgehog used by youths as football

Victoria, the battered hedgehog on the way to recovery.
Victoria, the battered hedgehog on the way to recovery.

Some of you may have already heard about little Victoria, a hedgehog used as a football by local youths in a children’s playground.

Rescuers were called out after the hedgehog was rescued by local residents in Victoria Gardens, Eastbourne.

X-ray of Victoria showing her fractured fibula.

X-ray of Victoria showing her fractured fibula.

The poor little female hedgehog was very frightened and had a number of broken and bent prickles over her body as a result of being kicked, so rescuer Tony rushed the hedgehog up to WRAS’s Casualty Centre for further assessment.

Local residents witnessed the attack which occurred during the evening of September 2.

Victoria was given medication and then seen by vets at Henley House Vets in Uckfield, where she had an x-ray. At first we thought she was going to be lucky and not suffer any horrendous injuries, as she was very mobile and active. However, the x-ray revealed she had a fractured fibula in the lower half of her leg but is lucky that the tibula was intact and splinting the fracture.

At this age the youngster’s bones are still quite rubbery. We were hoping she wouldn’t have any fractures, and were disappointed to find this, but it should heal well and she should make a full recovery. We just feel so sorry for what she has had to go through. Victoria is thought to be about five to six weeks old and weighs about 250g. She is a similar size to a number of hedgehogs we are getting in at the moment.

The incident has certainly provoked a huge reaction on our facebook and twitter sites with numerous comments which I can’t repeat here. The incident is shocking and the details have been passed to Sussex Police who are taking statements and taking the incident further.

A hedgehog came into care this week from Lewes after being found next to its dead mum in a road. He is doing well but like a number of the hedgehogs coming into care at the moment, we are not sure whether they will be up to weight to be releasable this side of Christmas. Hedgehogs ideally need to be over 600g before hibernating, it’s going to be a close call.

Some nice releases have taken place over the past week, including a dove and a wood pigeon released in Uckfield and Buxted. Spike the hedgehog was released back at Buxted too, down Church Lane, where we have also had another three hedgehogs from the same garden over a 10-day period. They were all struggling with the spell of warm weather and dehydration. Only one of them is still in care and not big enough to be released yet weighing just 250g.

The last of our young juvenile gulls has also been released this week. He came in with an infection in his legs and feet which was successfully treated. We have also released another wood pigeon who was originally admitted due to a nasty injury that had needed stitching and another dove who came in with a gaping wound on his side. A number of the head-wound hedgehogs which we have had admitted over the summer have been released fit and well. Two of our hand-reared young hedgehogs have gone to a lovely garden in Hailsham where hedgehogs visit each night and they are being soft-released back to the wild.

The burnt nosed fox from Bexhill has also been released now too. Her nose is pink now rather than black, but has healed well.

Rescuer Chris took her out and released her back in her home range.

We are getting a few nestling feral pigeons at the moment, and also a large number of fledgling doves who have either collided with windows or caught by cats.

Tiny newly hatched woody just arrived, eyes firmly shut and unable to hold up his head, fallen from his nest poor thing.

Kathy warmed him up and he reacted really well to his first tiny feed. He was joined by two other very small baby pigeons at the weekend.