An amazing common lizard, and concerns over hedgehogs
We are getting a few calls from people worried about whether hedgehogs are to small to hibernate.
It is a little early to be worrying but over the next month it will get more and more of an issue. Studies have shown that hedgehogs under 450 grams struggle to survive hibernation. Ideally they need to be around 600 grams. The lower their weight the less chance they have of coming out of hibernation in a fit state. As usual if you see a hedgehog out during the day then pick it up and call for help. After the end of October if you see one which is small out, even during the night, it is worth checking its weight.
Many people feed hedgehogs dried meal worms. However, recent studies have shown that feeding hedgehogs dried mealworm can cause metabolic bone disease, a crippling disorder affecting the bones. This can cause fractures or micro fractures as well as deformity in the legs making it very painful to walk. Other food such as sunflower hearts and peanuts can also contribute towards this condition too.
This is caused by hyperparathyroidism, which occurs when the diet is high in phosphorus and low in calcium. As a result the calcium is pulled out of the bones into the bloodstream making the bones weak and brittle. Young hedgehogs with this condition often have to be euthanised due to the long term painfulness of the condition.
Meal worms contain up to 30 times more phosphorus than calcium, peanuts and sunflower hearts contain about six times more. Its is recommended that hedgehogs are fed a good balanced diet using diets which are higher in calcium.
Often kitten and puppy food will be higher in calcium than phosphorus so these are good to feed, but dried mealworms should be avoided.
We have had an amazing common lizard in care this week. We don’t see them coming in very often but this one came into care after being caught by a cat and injured. Chris has taken some amazing close up photos.
The Biological Records Centre has launched a helpful app to help track mammals in the UK. The data recorded in this app will be used to help find what and where species need to be helped and find areas of much needed conservation.
Visit http://www.brc.ac.uk/mammal_tracker/ Its worth looking at and downloading onto your phone and helping to report your local wildlife.
Calls this week have included attending a catted mouse at Petworth Place, Eastbourne, a gull unable to fly at Beatty Road, Eastbourne, an injured wood pigeon at Midway Quay, Eastbourne.
We also had a swan which was found crashed at the side of the Lottbridge Drove and Seaside Roundabout in Eastbourne which a passing motorist picked up and took to Pets at Home nearby. Luckily I was in the area and was able to pop along and collect the swan quite quickly. The swan had clearly received a blow to the chest, so was kept in for observations and supportive care. A couple of days later the swan was taken to Princes Park for release.
I have the pleasure of releasing a sparrowhawk back at Mushroom Field in Kingston village near Lewes last week. The bird had a fractured wing but the fractures was fairly stable so made a really good recovery. It was nice to see the bird fly off so strongly.
We also had two tawny owls come into care. They were both road casualties, one from Chiddingly and one from North Street Hellingly. They are both improving and now able to fly again. So fingers crossed they will be suitable for release soon too.