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Hornbeam Wood Hedgehog Sanctuary: One Hedgehog’s Journey to Recovery

Updated: Jun 6

Maple – a male hedgehog rescued from Welwyn Garden City.
Maple – a male hedgehog rescued from Welwyn Garden City.

The Rescue

Maple came to the sanctuary on 25th November 2023 with facial injuries caused by what is thought to be a garden strimmer. One of many unfortunate injuries that often happen to hedgehogs in gardens.


A member of the public rang Martin at Hornbeam Wood Hedgehog Sanctuary (HWHS) having spotted Maple and requested a rescue.


Hog Hospital

Maple was brought to the HWHS’s hospital to assess his injuries. He was given an iodine bath, and hibiscrub antimicrobial cleanser was used to cleanse his wounds; pain relief and antibiotics were administered to make him comfortable.


On arrival, all rescues are checked over in the hog hospital for injuries, fleas and ticks and weighed to assess their health. Fortunately, HWHS have 7 incubators – three large and four small ones. To purchase a new incubator range from £311.83 to £831.89 for a large one. Additionally, the sanctuary has an over-wintering shed with a maximum capacity of 40. In cases of severe injury, hedgehogs would be taken to a Veterinary surgeon for assessment and care.


A hedgehog in recovery in an incubator at the sanctuary
A hedgehog in recovery in an incubator at the sanctuary

In Maple’s case, the injuries he sustained were cause for him to be put into an incubator which is a hay/dirt-free environment, where incubators are disinfected daily to minimise risk of infection and to aid the healing of open wounds.


The daily care of hedgehogs in the hospital, sees our volunteer, Margaret, cleaning out the incubators with disinfectant every day, removing food and water bowls to be sterilised and clean towels replacing the soiled ones. Hedgehogs are regularly weighed to ensure that they are gaining weight, as weight-loss could be a possible sign of worms or other intestinal infections. Depending on their injuries, hedgehogs receive the occasional bath too.


Rehabilitation Costs

With the rehabilitation of a hedgehog, costs are incurred by the sanctuary. From the initial rescue cost of the fuel and insurance for the Sanctuary’s rescue vehicle, the daily food, medicine, and consumables plus the cost of electricity to run incubators.

Maple has currently been at the sanctuary for nine weeks. This equates to £24.00 per week in electricity, £28.00 per week in food for one hedgehog, plus £5.00 per week in consumables such as, latex gloves, paper towels, and disinfectants. In addition are the individual medical expenses for treatment such as antibiotics and Metacam pain-relief and priceless cost of voluntary hours given.


Over-wintering Shed at HWHS
Over-wintering Shed at HWHS

Maple is happily on the road to recovery for potential release in Spring
Maple is happily on the road to recovery for potential release in Spring

Happily, we can report that Maple is making such great progress. His facial injuries have healed. Alas, one of his eyes is permanently damaged but he is a healthier weight and has been able to move from an incubator to the over-wintering shed.


Long may his progress continue!


Hornbeam Wood Hedgehog Sanctuary (http://www.hwhs.org.uk)


Written by Lorraine Stapleton



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