Prickles and Paws is a registered rescue charity for hedgehogs based just outside of Newquay in Cubert, Cornwall.
This adorable charity was founded by animal lover Katy and her mum Diane. What started as a young girl and her passion for helping animals and rescuing a couple of hedgehogs one year, transformed into a fully certified charity in 2017 called Prickles and Paws. Throughout the year they and many volunteers rescue hundreds, if not thousands, of hedgehogs a year from all over Cornwall in their little 'Hogspital' At the bottom of the garden.
A recent environmental report from March 2022 has declared that British hedgehog numbers have been declining by between 30% - 70% in some parts of the country. Not only are hedgehogs the most delightful and unique little vertebrates to have in our back gardens, they are also so important for ecosystems. Hedgehogs are not fussy eaters and they really help control the insect populations, they will eat snails, slugs and most creepy crawlies and are therefore a good companion for a gardener.
These two hedgehogs are called Custard and Cream they are brother and sister hedgehogs and they were admitted on 21st of August.
"The majority of our admissions recently have been admitted because they have been found out during the daytime – usually an indication that they are unwell, the majority have been underweight and dehydrated.
When a hedgehog comes into us we do a full health check, assessing body condition, level of hydration, temperature and a head to toe assessment. Generally they then have fluids administered by injection to treat for shock and warmth provided (heat pad / ecoglow / incubator). We then carry out a faecal sample to check for internal parasites and once stable will start any treatments required. Many of our injury cases go to our vets for assessment under anaesthetic to have x-rays our wounds cleaned. We then follow a treatment plan through to getting them ready for release back into the wild." says Katy .
Custard and Cream have recovered amazingly well and have now been released back into the wild!
This male hedgehog (pictured above) was brought in at the beginning of September due to dehydration. He was out in the road in the middle of that day and someone phoned the rescue and he was brought to Prickles and Paws by one of their volunteers within a couple of hours. If there is a hedgehog in Cornwall that needs help, Prickles and Paws are there to help. Although they are based in Cubert they have volunteers based all over the county who can assist with transporting a hedgehog in need!
When hedgehogs arrive at Prickles and Paws they are checked for visible injuries, their weight is recorded and their spines are checked for any damage. As this one was dehydrated he was very sluggish, very cold and barely moving, Katy injected him with fluids and he was put in an incubator to warm up.
How do you know if a hedgehog needs to be sent to a rescue?
As a general rule, prickles and paws go by this motto: 'Out at night, I'm alright. Out in the day not OK!' Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals so if you see one in the daytime something could be seriously wrong with them and they need medical attention.
Other signs a hedgehog might need urgent care:
- Visible Injury
- Flies around it
- Trapped/ stuck
- Hoglets out on their own without a parent
Katy injection a new hedgehog with fluids to help with shock
How can you help hedgehogs at home?
There are a few very easy things you can do in your own garden that hedgehogs would be very grateful for.
- Leave a bowl of water out at night - this is extremely helpful to them especially when its very hot in the summer months.
- Build a hedgehog highway! More and more hedgehogs are being injured from having to walk in roads. A hedgehog highway is just a case of leaving a small cut out (big enough for a hedgehog to get through) in your garden fence or wall on each side, so they have safe and easy access routes to get their food. As well as this if the hedgehog highway has access to your garden where they can forage for food, its even better!
- Check your garden waste - When clearing leaves in the autumn or winter be careful to make sure there isn't a hedgehog inside before throwing into a compost or any other bin.
- Leave out a snack - Hedgehogs hibernate during winter, so will stock up on food you can leave out a high protein snack such as good quality wet or dry cat or dog food.
- Bonfires - if you are planning a bonfire ensure you check it thoroughly for a nesting hedgehog before lighting it.
- Make you pond hedgehog friendly - place a small ramp in your pond incase a hedgehog falls in. Although hedgehogs can swim a little if they fall into a pond they need to be able to grip to something to climb out.
Image features Hedgehogs on a Christmas Card Festive Card (£1.00) >
What to do if you see a hedgehog that needs helpIf you see a hedgehog that needs assistance or if you're not sure what to do with, you can call Prickles and Paws on 07926 576164 if you are in Cornwall, otherwise you can contact a more local hedgehog rescue centre, and they will advise you what to do.
How the Whistlefish card donation will help Prickles and Paws Charity
"Last year was our busiest ever with over 1,300 hedgehogs admitted and we are on track to exceed that this year. Many of the hedgehogs require specialist and intensive care so the proceeds from the cards will help to run our incubators and provide medication and veterinary care for our hogs."
You can find out more about Prickles and Paws charity here.
Do you know someone who love hedgehogs? See the Whistlefish Hedgehog collection of birthday cards and wrapping paper!