JAM JAR ARMY: Different areas for all manner of hedgehogs

The facility for hedgehogs to prepare them for release back into the wild.
The facility for hedgehogs to prepare them for release back into the wild.

In 2016, our fund-raising was concentrated on improving our facilities, including our disabled area, and also forming a new soft-release area suitable for hedgehogs about to be released.

Prickles Retreat is an area of my garden devoted to hedgehogs who have a permanent disability and cannot be released back to the wild. We have created as near a natural environment as we can for them.

Initially, the area was somewhat Heath Robinson as my DIY skills are not the best, but it did serve the purpose for several years. It protected the vulnerable hogs such as amputees and the blind, many living to a grand old age and some even producing young which were then released into the wild when big enough to support themselves.

The area includes hedgehog houses filled with hay and I’ve planted many shrubs and grasses for cover, which hedgehogs love. Dry leaves and hay are available under cover to allow them to top up their nests whenever they feel the necessity.

Following a successful year of fund-raising, we were able to upgrade the area enormously with the assistance of a local landscape gardener.

We also created a soft-release area, Melrose House, which includes a shed for protection with hogitat nests inside and a ramp leading into a small garden which we’re in the process of planting. During the winter months, we’ve had several hedgehogs living there which is proving very successful. One hedgehog in particular who has benefitted enormously has been Toots, who came to us from a Tyneside vet.

He was a reasonable size, but, by the middle of January when he’d recovered from the problems which had brought him to us in the first place, he was desperate to be back outside again, so much so he paced up and down, causing his feet to be sore and bleed.

We successfully treated his feet, but obviously something had to be done about his mental state as January isn’t an appropriate time for release.

We thought he would be a good candidate to join the other hedgehogs in Melrose House and, hey presto, he’s now one happy hedgehog just waiting patiently for the better weather to come when he can go back to a natural life in the wild again.