National & International Town

Hedgehog rescue centre needs incubator for hoglets

single image

A hedgehog rescue centre near Milton Keynes and Buckingham is raising funds to buy a specialist incubator for sick hedgehogs, according to Bucks Herald.

Deanshanger Hedgehog Rescue was set up by husband-and-wife team Rachel and Dominic Matthews in August 2021, to provide first aid, care and rehabilitation to the local hedgehog population.

Both aged 39, the animal-loving couple have degrees in Animal Science and have also completed a course in hedgehog first aid and rehabilitation.

Starting off in a shed in their back garden, before long the operation had taken over part of their home, with their dining room being transformed into a ‘hedgehog hospital’.

Rachel, a self-employed farm auditor, and Dominic, a senior research technologist, run the rescue centre in their spare time with the help of three volunteers.

Rachel said: “We’ve loved hedgehogs for years.

“It’s just their faces – they’re just very cute and they have got a lot of character.

“And I think they are just so vulnerable now. As a species they’re not, but in the UK they’re on the ‘vulnerable’ list.

“So all the more reason really for us to get involved and help where we can.”

Rachel and Dominic decided to start a rescue centre in Deanshanger because it was a long way for local people to travel to the existing centres – Tiggywinkles animal hospital in Haddenham or MK Hedgehog Haven.

Dominic with a rescued hedgehog

“Originally we set up in our shed, that was the plan,” said Rachel. “They were all going to be in the shed.

“We started off, we were only going to have six, that was our maximum, and six soon turned to eight, eight turned to 10, and we were like, OK, we’ll have to come up with a Plan B.

“So now the set-up is we’ve got the actual hedgehog hospital, so any that are sick, that need more hands-on care are in our old dining room – that’s now a little hedgehog hospital.

“And the shed is now basically for rehabilitation really, so once they’re off medicines and they just want to grow, then they move into the shed.”

Thanks to previous fundraising, the centre will be getting a new, larger shed in March, to replace the existing one which is “falling to bits,” Rachel says.

Now they have set up a fundraising page to raise £1,000 for a specialist animal intensive care unit (ICU).

Rachel said: “When you get a hedgehog come in, they’re usually very cold and very dehydrated.

“Baby hedgehogs can’t maintain their own body heat very well at all, especially when they’re ill.

“Even on hot days, if someone rings up and says they’ve found a little hedgehog outside that’s poorly, we tell them to put it on heat, like a hot water bottle covered with a towel.

“So basically, when they come to us the first thing we do is pop them on the heat pad and give them some fluids.” she added.

Having funded the initial set-up entirely themselves, the rescue centre now has “a nice trickle of donations coming in”, said Rachel.

And she added: “Hopefully, this year we want to register as a proper charity, and we want to get to the stage where we can expand and maybe get a proper little unit somewhere.

“That’s kind of the goal.”

To support Deanshanger Hedgehog Rescue’s fundraising effort for the hedgehog ICU, see here.

Image Source: Bucks Herald

You may like