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A Spikey Tale ~ The Story Of A Three Legged Hedgehog

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Angelici Magiovinium

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[size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif][color=black]When I read an article recently about endangered wildlife, it prompted me to write about my own somewhat unexpected relationship with a hedgehog.[/color][/font][/size]

[size=3][color=black][font=Arial][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]According to Oxford[/font][/font][/color][/size][color=black][font=Arial][size=2][size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif] [/font][/size][size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]University[/font][/size][size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]'s wildlife conservation unit, the [/font][/size][size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]UK[/font][/size][size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif] hedgehog population has dipped to about 1.5m compared with 30m in the 1950s. Hedgehogs sometimes breed twice in a year, but autumn babies rarely put on enough weight to survive the winter.[/font][/size][/size][/font][/color]

[size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif][color=black]One afternoon in July I got a call from Mini Me who was out in the nearby playing fields, she had found an injured baby hedgehog that was too[/color][color=black] [/color][color=black]weak[/color] and badly hurt to even roll up into a ball. Mr D took a cardboard box and went to bring them home, when they got back it was with the smallest Hoglet I had ever seen, he was only about 4 or 5 weeks old, his fuzzy little face looked up desperately and I was absolutely horrified at the serious injuries the friendly little chap had sustained. I cleaned his wound but it was badly infected so we contacted our local animal hospital who were happy to treat him free of charge if I did the nursing, it was touch and go for several days although the x-ray showed no break to the leg the laceration was so deep it had severed the nerves and tendons in his leg and he was going to need an amputation once the infection had cleared up. [color=black]So there we were – for the next few weeks, I was responsible for a hedgehog who needed two lots of medication twice a day. [/color][color=black] [/color][/font][/size]

[size=3][font=arial, helvetica, sans-serif][color=#000000][attachment=122086:2011_0715spikey0003.JPG][/color][/font][/size]

[size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif][color=black]Eventually, a three-legged hedgehog with a slightly sideways walk counted his blessings at being alive – life is very precious, even to a hedgehog.[/color] [/font][/size]

[size=3][attachment=122088:2011_0727spikey0005.JPG][/size]

[size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Sadly Spikey can’t go back fully into the wild but he can enjoy a safe and secure and hopefully happy life in our enclosed garden.[color=black] We called him Spikey, because any wild creature is male until proven otherwise (this is a bit sexist I know, but it's traditional). I did learn how to sex them down the line and he is in fact a she, but I didn't want to mess him about. [/color][/font][/size]

[size=3][attachment=122087:2011_0805Spikey0002.JPG][/size]

[size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif][color=black]Feeding hedgehogs is easy. Dog, or Cat food, tinned or dry, tinned dog in Spike’s case topped with some crunchy meal worms, he loves meal worms. Don't give them bread and milk – lactose is not good for them. They eat slugs too, but they carry a nasty parasite that affects hedgehog lungs. Talking of parasites I got rid of his fleas, but it is a myth that hedgehog fleas can live very long on anything or anybody that isn’t a hedgehog. [/color][/font][/size]

[size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif][color=black]Eventually Spikey weighed over a pound, the weather warmed up, and I moved him from his indoor home in the utility room into a hutch the garden. He comes in at night at the moment and will probably move back inside for the winter unless we decide to let him hibernate.[/color][/font][/size]

[size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif][color=black]Anyone could do it – look out for hedgehogs in your garden this autumn, perhaps if we all kept an eye out, we could save a much-loved British species from extinction.[/color][/font][/size]
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