Litter can cause major issues for hedgehogs

A recent hedgehog rescue highlights why discarded litter can be so dangerous for wildlife.

Tuesday, 22nd November 2016, 5:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 22nd November 2016, 11:06 am
WD, who was found with a plastic collar wrapped tightly twice round his neck and chest.

On October 6, we received an urgent call from a staff member at Whittle Dean Water Works stating they’d found a hedgehog in distress.

WD, as he’s now known, had been found with a plastic collar wrapped tightly twice round his neck and chest. This was the type of collar normally found under a plastic cap on a jar or similar container.

It was impossible for WD to free himself and it had obviously been there for some time as it was embedded in his flesh.

The person who found him had tried to cut it free, but soon realised it required a great deal more than just cutting it away and brought him to us.

While they cared for him overnight, prior to bringing him to us, they were amazed at how stoical he’d been as he’d eaten everything they’d given him in spite of his dreadful predicament.

We quickly relieved him of the awful pressure the collar was causing and then realised the seriousness of the injuries caused, which would require not only immediate but ongoing treatment for some time to come as there was a great deal of infection in the very deep wound.

This picture shows him a couple of weeks after arriving here. He will remain with us over the winter months as he hasn’t reached the optimum weight nor been fit enough to release this year, but, hopefully, will now have a happy and less eventful future in 2017.

So often I see discarded rubber bands and the plastic rings which hold four cans together scattered around, which is very concerning, as people don’t really understand what distress they cause to wildlife.

I make a point of bringing these items home, cutting them into small pieces and disposing of them responsibly to prevent any accidents and would ask others to do likewise please.

Northumbrian Water have since been in touch with us offering to help with any projects requiring assistance so we’ve put on our thinking caps as to which of our many ‘to do’ jobs would benefit the hedgehogs the most.