Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Aimees Story - Special Delivery

Special Delivery!
Aimee – named after the vet nurse who found her and notified the Hospital – came in with a neck
wound caused by plastic netting. Fortunately, the wound was superficial and healed well. We were
about to release her back to her home in King's Stanley, when she stopped feeding, and didn't
emerge from her box as she usually did in the evening.
Suspicions aroused, on June 9th, John listened closely and heard squeaking sounds! Aimee had
given birth to six healthy hoglets.
Apart from checking to make sure they were warm and comfortable, we disturbed them as little as
possible. Aimee resumed her healthy appetite for mealworms, crunchy cat biscuits and dog food.

Ten days old
At ten days old, the hoglets looked much like spiky little conkers, but by three weeks, their eyes
were open and they looked like miniature versions of mum.

Three weeks old
In the wild, the mother would normally lead her babies out to start learning to forage at about five
weeks, abandoning them altogether at about eight weeks. The young hedgehogs then disperse and
lead solitary lives, except for mating.
As this litter was confined to a pen, the mother was unable to forage for them as she would in the
wild, but they have learnt to find the food left for them and have been feeding on mealworms, and
cat crunchies. Aimee has been a very good mother and was still snuggling up to the youngsters,
even when they were eight weeks old.
Aimee has now returned to the garden in King's Stanley, where she was originally found, and the
young hedgehogs have gone to new homes in Paganhill and Rodborough. They have been released
in groups of three, two girls from one litter, and a boy from another, in the hope that they will be
able to form new breeding colonies next spring. Two more of this litter will go to Minchinhampton.

Six weeks old.

Eight weeks old.
The Help a Hedgehog Hospital is currently developing a patch of land to serve as a pre-release
training area, for young hedgehogs like these to learn to forage for themselves in a safe
environment, before they are released into the wild. We are hoping to be able to release young
hedgehogs into this facility, when the work is completed, which has been funded by our generous
Julien Crowther
Hedgehog carer.

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