Please let me have any tips, comments, ideas, problems or information that I can pass on to other hedgehog rehabilitators by way of this newsletter. If you are anywhere other than in the UK please remember this newsletter is about the European Hedgehog and that drugs and legal implications may be different in other countries.

I am also using e-mails to get quick answers and views on carers’ problems. Topics can then be included in later newsletters. The originator of any query receives comments as they come through.

Secure Garden Wanted
George and Mary Wallace run a home at Hollinsclough which is on the Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Cheshire border and are desperately in need of a secure garden within a 25 mile radius of Buxton in Derbyshire.

They may be contacted by telephone (01298 83830) or e-mail (

Just a reminder that it is illegal to sell alcohol without a licence. This includes offering alcoholic prizes in a raffle.

Deformed hoglets
A carer in Lancashire has reported seeing an increase of the number of females losing their babies. These babies have been deformed in some way. One litter of 4 seemed to have no heads; it looked like they had 2 back ends. Has anyone had similar problems.

Nursing Mother’s deaths
Another question raised has been about nursing mothers who seem to be doing well but then suddenly die after the hoglets are 1-2 weeks old. The mothers were fine up to then and the babies have continued to thrive. Any suggestions.

Negasunt powder is no longer being produced. However, there is a new product called "Rearguard." It is meant as a preventive measure against maggots but may work on live ones. Rearguard just got to the wholesalers last week so vets may not know about it yet.

Has anyone tried this or is there any other product that you have used to kill maggots on hedgehogs. Weight loss during hibernation

I have received the following request for information:

I am currently composing my dissertation on the weight hedgehogs lose during hibernation. As there is little information available, I would be grateful for any statistics or information you have on weight loss. You can e-mail me on or by post at: 273 Senwick Drive, Wellingborough, Northants, NN8 1SD.

I look forward to hearing from you.


The following is reproduced from “Rehabilitator” the newsletter of the British Wildlife Rehabilitation Council. It was received from Ann Thompson of Leigh-on-Sea, Essex:

Many rehabilitators are aware of the side effects of certain drugs. For example, ivermectin and metronidazole, which are used to control mange mite, intestinal worms and trichomoniasis, can cause adverse reactions.

I have found an interesting natural product - grapefruit seed extract (Citricidal) which was discovered by Interlab, a South American laboratory. They have found it inactivates viruses and kills many Microbes including Streptococcus spp., Salmonella spp., Listeria spp., Legionella spp, and chronic parasitic and yeast infections - in fact over twenty disease-causing bacteria, more than 30 fungi and a host of protozoa (single cell parasites). The US Department of Agriculture has found it was also effective against four animal viruses, including foot and mouth and African swine fever.

I have used Citricidal for intestinal worms and seen them excreted within 24 hours. This year I shall endeavour to use the liquid or tablets for trichomoniasis in wild birds. As this is a disease of the immune system, giving a drug like metronidazole may make the bird weaker and more likely to succumb to subsequent infections.

Citricidal can be obtained, in liquid or tablet form. Further details can be obtained from:
Higher Nature, Burwash Common, East Sussex (01435 882880)

Has anyone used this on hedgehogs and did you find it worked well?

One-eyed Hedgehogs
I received a request for information from a carer who has a one eyed hedgehog. I e-mailed all the carers on the circulation list for their views and these are the comments I received. You will see there are quite a few different opinions.

Reply 1 - I do not have a problem with releasing hogs with one eye. I have released at least four with this condition and know that at least two have done well.

Reply 2 - I have had the experience of a one-eyed cat and a one-eyed rabbit to no great detriment to the animals. I would suggest that having highly tuned other senses that a one-eyed hedgehog could be released.

My only proviso would be that perhaps an interim period in a secure garden would be beneficial.

Reply 3 - I have NEVER released one-eyed hogs back into the wild. They have all gone to enclosed gardens or kept with other Carers.

I have found that when an eye is removed or lost for whatever reason it can give long term problems with discharge, infections etc. My worry with releasing back into the wild is that, if the 'lost' eye gets infected, it could spread to the other eye and cause blindness and certain death. Having been in a situation myself when I have temporarily been one-eyed it does make you disorientated somewhat. Although Hedgehogs have not got good eyesight, they do use them to get around.

Reply 4 - We have done this into known walled large gardens where they can be monitored. Some adapt, some do not. If they show signs of disorientation, ie wandering in circles they probably have poor sight in the other eye and are unreleasable

Reply 5 - We think one-eyed hogs would survive OK in the wild in a "safe haven/area" but not a secure garden.

However, the question needs to be asked - why has it only got one eye? - Was this a genetic problem? If so will it eventually affect the other eye in the future (from past experience this can happen)? This would obviously mean a secure garden.

Reply 6 - As my book (Dr Pat Morris) reports in some detail, we radio tracked a hedgehog that was blind in both eyes. He managed perfectly well, reminding us that hedgehogs are 'smell and hearing centred', not visual animals like us. Eyes are anyway unlikely to be much use an inch off the ground in long grass!

Reply 7 - I'm a firm believer in - if it came in with an existing "loss" and has coped for a while with that loss and the loss is not the reason for it being in care, then release it to the area from which it came. Otherwise I believe it is a case for either PTS or very careful consideration and probably release in a sheltered (probably inescapable) garden.

Reply 8 - There is no problem at all to release a one eyed hedgehog into the wild. They are nocturnal animals and they are searching for food using nose and ears more than any other senses. We knew already about full blind hedgies that lived in freedom too.

Reply 9 - I have released a few one eyed hedgehogs, providing the other eye is fine, I don't think there is a problem.

Reply 10 - As long as the hog is fit and well and the remaining eye is healthy then we have no problems releasing a one eyed hedgehog.

Reply 11 - My thoughts are torn! On the one hand I think that one-eyed hogs are slightly handicapped and that to keep them in some sort of safe enclosure would guarantee them lifelong safety. But, unless it is absolutely vital, I also tend to think that hogs are best suited to their natural habitat, with its risks. As hog eyesight isn't particularly good at the best of time, and as they have such excellent senses of smell and use this so much for their activities, the loss of sight in one eye is not a major crisis. I think hedgehogs face dangers much more dramatic than the loss of sight in one eye! On balance I think a healthy one-eyed hog should be given its freedom.

Reply 12 - I thought that they rely so little on eyesight that it is a reasonable risk to release hedgehogs with one eye. In fact a vet I know have spoken to has treated and released quite a few hedgehogs that were blind.

Reply 13 - I release totally blind hedgehogs, but I always release them back where they were found. I have never had a problem, they do sometimes come out during the day, and especially when it is colder during the day to the previous night. I know Nigel Reeve and Pat Morris said in their radio tracking they have come across blind hedgehogs in the wild and they appeared healthy and able to cope.

I remember one Pat Morris told us about and he on average mated with 6 different females every night they radio tracked him. So he was doing very nicely thank you.

Reply 14 - As their eyesight is so poor anyway, as long as they can tell when it's dark and not start wandering about during the day; I think it's fine to let a one eyed hog go, as long as he can see OK with the remaining eye. We had one "blind" hog who was found wandering in the main road after a short period of release, we tried it as Pat Morris says they don't need to see, but in this case it wasn't safe so we put him in an enclosed garden. We have let several hogs who have an eye removed or have lost an eye go and never had them back in trouble because of their sight! [Hedgehogs released by this carer are all tagged so they know if one is returned.]

Reply 15 - I don't see a problem at all about releasing a one-eyed hedgehog if it is in good health otherwise. Pat Morris famously studied a totally blind hedgehog on Ashford Golf Course that seemed to be managing OK in the wild despite some bumping into things. I've seen more than one one-eyed hedgehog in the wild doing perfectly well - they must be quite vulnerable to being poked by sticks and brambles in the undergrowth. I often wonder that you don't see more eye injuries - I guess the whiskers help to avoid damage.

I guess everyone in the hedgehog world knows that smell and hearing are the hedgehog's primary senses and vision - though not unimportant - is definitely well down on the list. One eye still allows it to tell day from night and to avoid objects and to see things approaching. Hedgehogs don't have much in the way of binocular vision - too much snout in the way - so not much loss there.

Reply 16 - No problem. They rely on their sense of smell, not sight.

Reply 17 - I would only release them under controlled conditions where they can be monitored for at least a month, then possibly out into the wild if they seem to cope on their own.

Reply 18 - Hedgehogs are short sighted naturally and use noses and ears to find their food and smell for their enemies, so I would think one eye is fine for release.

Reply 19 - We release one-eyed hedgehogs (but not blind hedgehogs). We often find however that although the other eye remains it may be damaged even if it looks perfect. If the second eye is sighted and the missing eye (socket) is not causing any problems then we release. If in any doubt the hedgehog could go into an escape proof garden to see how it copes eg is it totally nocturnal.

Reply 20 - I believe that one-eyed H/hogs, assuming they are fit and well in all other respects, are suitable for release. Their eyesight is quite poor and it is well known that they rely on their sense of smell and hearing to locate prey/ food (I've seen my blind - no eyes in sockets, H/hog following a ground beetle along the lawn). It might be a good idea to try the H/hog in question in a secure garden prior to release and watch closely to see if it can forage for itself.

Reply 21 - I have had a one eyed hedgehog, under my supervision for the last three years. We called him Whirligig for obvious reasons! They manage, but not 100%, and I would not advocate releasing one-eyed hogs, unless like mine in an enclosed environment.

Uist Hedgehogs
This is just a short note to let you know what the BHPS proposes to do about the hedgehogs on Uist.

At present they are waiting to be consulted by the Uist Wader Project on the question of relocation or cull.

In the meantime the BHPS has been formulating an action plan for relocation. This whole project is likely to be a long drawn out one. Issues like the current foot and mouth restrictions, transportation logistics, animal welfare issues, other current legislation all have to be looked into – and a start has been made on this. Other issues that need to be addressed include the possibility of introducing diseases and parasites from Uist to the Mainland and the susceptibility of the Uist hedgehogs to the diseases and parasites of the Mainland.

The BHPS and its carer members need to be seen to be acting in a responsible and co-ordinated way. Other organisation have offered to help and possibly a group will be created, made up of different bodies, to manage this issue - rather than each go their own way. If the decision is made to relocate it must be seen to run smoothly and efficiently so if in the future such a course of action is again required we have the know how to undertake it and also the credibility to do so.

The BHPS will at some stage be writing to all its members asking for help. From the carers this help might take the form of helping with the relocation. As yet it has not been decided on how this will be undertaken but if callers contact you offering homes you could take a note of their details. You will also need to satisfy yourself that there are no badgers, or ground nesting birds in the locality and that they are not after a pet. You will also need to ask whether the hedgehogs can come and go from their gardens – those with escape proof gardens may be useful to you now for any disabled hedgehogs you currently have.

The BHPS hopes to be consulted by The Uist Wader Project at any time now. The Project is arranging for various documents to be copied for that consultation. At present they are very slow to release the necessary papers and this is causing some people to take the matter into their own hands. I have heard that members of the public are rescuing hedgehogs from the Isles already with no knowledge or regard to nursing mothers or the suitability of the proposed release site. The sooner a decision can be made the better. Once it is realised the hedgehogs are not in danger it is hoped that the relocation would be left to those who at least have a working knowledge of hedgehogs and their requirements. We have no experts at the moment on capturing and relocating 5000 hedgehogs so great care must be taken to get it right first time.

African Pigmy Hedgehogs

The following is an amalgamation of thoughts from carers about these hedgehogs being kept as pets.

I would like to bring every ones attention to the fact that hedgehogs are on sale in this country as pets. The hedgehogs that are sold as pets are the African Pygmy Hedgehogs. They are different in colouring and size to our own wild ones. They are white under the chest and throat also on their underbelly. They have white faces and weigh at full size about 25 ounces. As far as I know sellers of these animals should have exotic pet licences but I am checking on that fact.

Some unscrupulous people try to own wild hedgehogs as pets because they don't see why they can't when these pygmy hogs can be bought. Please keep an eye open for hogs on sale because there are occurrences of wild British hedgehogs being sold as pygmy hogs. (This I understand is illegal and should be reported.) I don't agree at all with hogs being kept as pets and am very worried that when folk buy these animals and get fed up with them what happens to the animals.

There is currently no requirement to have a licence to breed African Pigmy Hedgehogs.

Animal Welfare Bills
I spoke with someone at DEFRA the other day and they are still preparing a briefing for the Minister based on all the responses to the consultation paper. There is no intention at present to consult any further on this issue.

Courses etc

Lower Moss Wood Wildlife Hospital Annual Conference

This is being organised by Ray Jackson and his team. It will be held on 13-15th September at the usual venue of Petty Pool, Cheshire. The topics covered will include badgers, deer, polecats, raptors and seals. For more information contact Ray at Lower Moss Wood Wildlife Hospital, School Lane, Ollerton, Knutsford, Cheshire WA16 8SJ or e-mail

Carers Training Day:

Carol and Marion are pleased to say that enough interest has been generated for them to hold a training day. It will be held on:

Sunday 27th October, 9am - 5pm. at the Marriott Hotel, Peterborough. The cost will be £25 for the day and will include a buffet lunch. The Marriott is just off the A1 and is well signposted, it also has easy access from both bus and rail stations.

The theme of the day is "Ring, ring - I've found this Hedgehog", and will be devoted to the rescue, care, treatment and release of sick, injured and orphaned Hedgehogs. Commencing with that first 'phone call.

Brochure and application forms are now available, to obtain them please ring either Marion (01522 688300) or Carol (01379 644988), early booking is advisable as numbers are restricted. (or e-mail on

If you are organising a course or know of one please let me know and I can include it in the next newsletter, the next issue will be out towards the end of November 2002.

Please send any comments or contributions for the next newsletter to:
Kay Bullen, 5 Foreland Road, Whitchurch, Cardiff CF14 7AR tel 029 20623985.
web site at:
July 2002

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