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Hedgehog foster care

One of our biggest challenges at Deanshanger Hedgehog Rescue is overwintering. Late in the year, December or into January, many of our patients can't be released as they are either too small, too sick, or are ready to go just as the weather is too bad for them to leave.

In some specific circumstances we would welcome foster carers to take and look after pre-release hogs for the winter period.

All our hedgehogs have been brought in by members of the public, sent to us by a vet or referred to us by other rescue centres. As such, they all have problems and that can range from injury to disease. We spend alot of time and money getting them better so you will understand that we are incredibly careful about who we hand them over to.

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What does Hedgehog fostering entail?

You need to love wildlife, no matter what, and be able to provide a safe, secure environment with food and water every day for periods of up to 6 months.

We do not send out sick hogs to fosterers but there are occasions when a hog relapses for no reason. Part of your role would be to monitor the hedgehogs daily for any change in their conditions and report back with any untoward signs and if necessary, returning the animal to the hospital.

We never leave our fosterers to cope on their own, there would be weekly check-ups by phone or text to monitor their progress.  We are here 24 hours for the hogs, and someone will always take your phone call to answer any questions or concerns in the case of an emergency.

What you will need
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Somewhere quiet

Hedgehogs have very sensitive hearing and so it is important that they are housed somewhere quiet where they are not disturbed. No loud noises, no TV, radio, washing machine. No children rushing in and out, doors banging etc.

Household pets

You must be able to keep the hedgehog away from your domestic pets especially dogs.

A hedgehog going back to the wild thinking dogs are friends could end up being hurt. Cats are not so much of an issue for an adult hedgehog but a female that doesn't defend her nest and babies against a cat will lose them therefore we need her afraid of them.

Housing

A secure cage/hutch(min. of 4ft) for them to have as a run. we can recommend suitable cages to use.Bedding can be fleeces cut up into square blankets, torn up newspaper or chopped, dust extracted hay NOT straw. If you are housing indoors we don't recommend hay unless you love housework.

Food & Water

We will advise on what is required before you pick the hog up but usually meat based cat biscuits and lots of water. We will sometimes suggest wet cat food too. Under NO circumstances do you give 'treats' nor do you give live food or things you have dug up from the garden as this could give them internal parasites or toxins. 

Preferably heated

Not all hogs can be allowed to hibernate, the small ones need to be kept awake and that means warmth. If you can't provide heat then we need to know in advance and we can offer alternative solutions.

Cleaning Equipment

Rubber gloves.

Safe 4 Disinfectant,

Paper Towels,

Newspapers

Hogs make a mess and daily cleaning is required.  
All cleaning materials must be safe for the hedgehogs and the rubber gloves are for your protection.  

Please note:

We must stress that fostering is very much hands-off apart from the daily clean and weighing.

As much as they are very cute, they are not pets and so overhandling can induce stress related issues.

Being a Hedgehog Fosterer is a commitment, they need to be checked, weighed, cleaned and fed daily. They can go into hibernation throughout this period but do wake from hibernation and come out to eat and drink so they must be checked every day. 

All of our hogs come from the wild and go back to the wild / area where they were found where possible. 

Hedgehog foster carer application

Thank you! We’ll be in touch.

INTERESTED IN BECOMING A FOSTER CARER?

Please complete the application and our Foster Care Co-ordinator will be in contact with you for more information.

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