TREVOR WEEKS: We need your help to keep our casualties warm this winter

Wrapped up warm: a road casualty tawny owl SUS-170111-134022001
Wrapped up warm: a road casualty tawny owl SUS-170111-134022001

For the first time this autumn / winter I woke up to a sheet of ice covering the ambulance windscreen. Temperatures are starting to drop to the point that hedgehogs will be thinking of hibernating.

We currently have 48 hedgehogs in care with WRAS and this number is increasing daily.

Several of these were admitted over the past week including three from St David’s Close Eastbourne, weighing 118, 93 and 83 grams as well as two from Hazelwood Avenue, Hampden Park.

They are now with orphan team leader Katie Nunn Nash who is rearing them in our incubators.

These join a small hedgehog from Gore Lane Ringmer found out during the day weighing just 165 grams, one from Chichester Road Seaford, weighing 180grams, as well as one from Marlborough Drive Burgess Hill.

We also have a 230gram hedgehog in from Bartley Mill Close, Stone Cross, which was covered in fly eggs on Saturday too.

There are a few video clips on our Facebook page of the little hedgehogs eating, is you visit www.facebook.com/wildlifeambulance.

We have 130 casualties in care with us at the moment including a grass snake, rabbit, buzzard, tawny owl and a dormouse.

We need your help to help keep our casualties cosy and warm this winter, so if you can afford to make a donation please head to our new Just Giving Page http://wildlifeambulance.org/donate/winter-warmer-appeal/

This is a new appeal which will run this winter to help us rescue those wild animals and bird which struggle to stay cosy and warm this winter.

These will include hedgehogs too small to hibernate, juvenile birds struggling to take care of themselves in the cold winter weather, or even road casualties which then battle to recover in the cold and need extra help.

So your donation will help us wrap up a tawny owl or make a lovely cosy nest for a hedgehog as well as help fund new equipment like added incubators.

Please remember that if you find a hedgehog out during the day time, regardless of the time of year, it will have a problem of one sort or another, so place the hedgehog somewhere secure and call a rescue organisation for advice.

Now we are into November hedgehogs ideally need to be over 500 grams and over 600 grams by December.

Although it is possible for them to survive as low as 450 grams they don’t generally come out of hibernation as fit as those who are larger.

If you see a hedgehog which is small and you are concerned about its size, then try to weigh it and call a rescue organisation if under 600grams.

If you do pick up a hedgehog and it does not need to come into care, please return it to where found. Removing a healthy hedgehog from its home range and relocating is an offence.

During the winter we often have people who take in hedgehogs thinking they are just too small to hibernate and just need placing in a hutch and providing food.

This is rarely the case. They need a thorough check over and close monitoring including faecal analysis to check for parasites as well as veterinary treatment.

Every year we are called to take on hedgehogs which have lost weight and are almost at deaths door because they have not been properly assessed or treated.

So please contact a rescue centre if you find a hedgehog and don’t just place them in a hutch for overwintering.

WRAS will be attending a charity bonanza at the Central Methodist Church in Pevensey Road, Eastbourne BN21 3HJ, on Saturday. The doors open at 9.30am and the event goes on till 4.30pm. There will be refreshments available.

WRAS will have a table of sales goods including copies of Trevor’s book, The Fields Were My Theatre, for just £8.99 and WRAS’s new 2018 wildlife calendars which are available for just £5 each. So please pop down and support us.

Other calls over the past week have included four doves. One from Lansdowne Way Hailsham caught by a cat, one from Willetts Field Chiddingly suffering from Canker, one from Barn Road Lewes unable to fly and one from Lime Tree Care Home in Ringmer which was too young to be out of its nest.

A little blue tit was admitted after being caught by a cat in The Avenue Lewes last week. We were able to release him after a few days of treatment.

Also a thank you to the staff and customer of Cliffe Vets in Lewes for raising more than £50 for WRAS via a collection tin.