Wareham and Sandford Hedgehog group are hoping to raise money for a new Hedgehog Hospital for Dorset!
by Kate Brailsford, Wareham and Sandford Hedgehog Co-ordinator
Spring is on the way, and in March we can look forward to many things, including that time of year when our Hedgehogs wake up from their winter hibernation.
Dorset Mammal Group’s aim is to reverse the decline of the hedgehog population in this county by encouraging towns and villages to become more hedgehog friendly habitats. Their vision is to make Dorset the first Hedgehog Friendly County.
The Wareham group was formed in 2018 but very quickly we expanded and are now called the Wareham and Sandford group. In the early days we started out by having films, slide shows and lectures and getting together to share hedgehog stories.
Our focus has now changed in line with Dorset Mammal Group. The Dorset-wide project to set up a Hedgehog Hospital was launched in 2022. Most of our sick or injured hedgehogs go to Tracy in Hamworthy or Jo and Paula on Portland. These dedicated Carers offer care and advice. Rarely do they say they are unable to take in our Wareham or Sandford hogs. The Carers desperately need some kind of back up – and that is what this Dorset Mammal Group initiative is all about – a “Hedgehog Hospital” for Dorset.
The first stage of this process is in train already, with plans to identify a vet with specialist hedgehog skills to help these amazing Rescue Centres in the short term. Longer term, as we continue to raise the large capital sums necessary for a dedicated building, we’re hoping this vet will be located there, continuing to help the hedgehog Rescue Centres and also to share hedgehog expertise with other Dorset vets if they wish this.
Wareham and Sandford Hedgehog Group has its own Fundraising Team and you may have met some of us at the Rec on Wareham Carnival Day, or at the Northmoor Allotment Open Day, or Sustainable Wareham. As well as fund raising, we are also sharing information with more people about the best ways we can all help our hedgehogs, and hopefully prevent some of them needing to go to the Carers.
Our next event is the Hedgehog Extravaganza to be held at Wareham Town Hall on the 25th March from 10 am – 2 pm.
Have you ever been to a Hedgehog Extravaganza? No, well why not come along. There will be many local craft stalls, tombola’s, raffles, homemade tea and cakes, a plant and Easter stall and a colouring table . Susy and Colin Varndell from Dorset Mammal Group will be at the event. Some of you will remember Susy and Colin from our early days. It was Susy and Colin who shared their enthusiasm and provided slide shows and talks for us.
We would love to see you on the day. If you can, there are a number of other ways you might be able to help us:
• Come to the event with your friends and family
• Bring your hedgehog stories
• Join our rota of helpers on the day?
• Donate raffle or tombola prizes, excess Christmas gifts, plants, or homemade craft items to sell.
Let me know if you can help with the Hedgehog Extravaganza, or if you would like to be added to my e-mail distribution list to receive information about Hedgehog Events in Wareham and Sandford.
Please email Kate Brailsford @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Easy ways to help hedgehogs
Leave a wild area for them to snuffle around for food. They like to find a pile of debris and sticks to hide under during the day. During the summer take care when using strimmers or mowers in longer grass, this is another place they may take cover in the day time. They may find safe refuge under your shed. Please do not use slug pellets.
Water and Feeding
If you would like to feed them, avoid peanuts, sunflower seeds, bread, milk or MEALWORMS. The best way to help them is to feed them cat biscuits, dog biscuits, tinned dog meat (not gravy based), or hedgehog food from the Pet Shop. Feeding them is particularly useful in the autumn to help the young ones put on enough weight for hibernation.
A really good way to help them, particularly during dry periods, is to leave water out for them. If you have a garden pond, create a hedgehog board walk, or use stones so that they can easily get in and out of the pond.
It is unusual to see a hedgehog out in daylight. If you do see one, take a few moments to assess the circumstances. Is it dawn or dusk? If it is moving with purpose, it might just be late finding cover for the day. If it does look sick, injured, wobbly or lethargic then best to take it to the vet or a rescue centre.