An Uckfield shed is being turned in a hedgehog maternity ward for the East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS).
Volunteer Kathy Martyn, WRAS’s senior carer, currently has two female hedgehogs with two litters of baby hedgehogs which have been born in her maternity ward and another female hedgehog who is expected to give birth in the next couple of weeks.
The shed was donated by Skinners Shed, and currently only has basic hutches inside, but the WRAS wants to kit it out properly as an official maternity ward.
“When pregnant hedgehogs come in for care and we can’t get them back to the wild quickly enough due to treatment or an injury, they sometimes give birth in our care. It’s important they are not disturbed too much or the mum is likely to kill her babies, so moving them here away from our busy centre is really useful so they have peace and quiet to concentrate on giving birth and rearing their young,” said Kathy.
Out of the two hedgehogs which have given birth, one was from Dorset Road, Bexhill, which was picked up by a dog, and the other was found wandering around in the middle of Hawks Farm School playing field in Hailsham during the day time.
“The Bexhill hedgehog, called Sundae, was rather large and rounded weighing 1.1kg when admitted. After we checked her over for injuries from the dog, she seemed fine, and an ultrasound showed she was pregnant. Our rescuers went to take her back for release that evening and they had a surprise when they found she had already given birth,” said Kathy.
“The other hedgehog, now called Caraway, was rescued after being found wandering around during the day time at Hawks Farm School. She was clearly pregnant when she was given an ultrasound but we had concerns about taking her back to give birth within the school playing field, so decided to keep her in.
“They are both doing very well and have got five healthy babies each. Sundae’s babies are Cumin, Cardamon, Chilli, Cayenne and Coriander, and Caraway’s babies are Chervil, Celery, Chicory, Chive and Cinamon.
“The third hedgehog looks pregnant and we hope she will give birth in the next few weeks. She is called Spice and from Bridgemere Road, Eastbourne.”
Hedgehogs as a general rule should never be out during the day time but occasionally pregnant mums will come out for a quick wander is they are feeling uncomfortable, but if out repeatedly they may have a problem.
Skinners Sheds very kindly donated the shed after Kathy’s own shed was too old to be converted. WRAS is now looking at installing new purpose built cages, heating, lighting and other equipment for looking after WRAS’s new maternity unit, which is expected to cost around £4,000.
“This new facility will really help us provide the best possible care to these pregnant ladies and help ensure they have the best possible care and support while giving birth and rearing their young. To look after each family will cost around £250 in food, vets bills, medication and equipment,” said Trevor Weeks MBE, founder of WRAS.
Anyone wishing to make a donation to WRAS to help with the establishment of this new hedgehog maternity ward can do so by calling 01825 873003, online at www.wildlifeambulance.org or by posting a donation to “East Sussex WRAS, PO Box 2148, Seaford, East Sussex, BN25 9DE.
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