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Sad news from the hedge

Bev Truss
Bev Truss

THE news from the hedge this week is not happy. This week, we have had a few hedgehogs arrive that haven’t survived their encounters with humans. One little female came in as she had been found by her rescuer after someone had let their dogs “play with her”. The poor wee thing was traumatised and had multiple wounds and died before I could get her to a vet to help; she was also pregnant.
Another hedgehog, this time a male, had been seen by his rescuer out in the day on the lawn. He had been there three days before the man who owned the house phoned me for advice. He came to The Hogsprickle very cold, dehydrated and thin; he didn’t survive the night.
Sadly, one of my colleagues at the hedgehog rescue in Dublin phoned me for advice about a spikey butt they had that was having seizures due to slug-pellet poisoning. This poor animal died a slow painful death, foaming at the mouth and crying out in pain.
Metaldehyde poisoning (slug pellet poisoning) is the most common form of poisoning in dogs at this time of year. I have seen numerous dogs that have been poisoned by their owners accidentally.
This week’s column is not a happy one, as I wanted to highlight the problems humans cause to the wildlife, not because of cruelty or wanton harm but by just not thinking of the far-reaching consequences of using chemicals in the environment. Weedkillers, pesticides, as well as hedge cutting, strimming and mowing the lawn without care can kill and injure our fragile ecosystem.
As a wildlife rehabilitator and vet nurse, it is soul destroying to see the rescued suffer and die needlessly. There are so many safe and natural alternatives to help our gardens help support the wildlife, while still being a great place to spend time ourselves.
Beer traps, copper strips, Diatomaceous Earth or a seaweed mulch (high in salt) around plants will deter slugs and snails and won’t cause harm to the other predators that feast on them. Also, remember that rat poison can also kill the birds of prey that may feed on them.
Ask at garden centres around Clare, as the staff can help with great ideas to support the insects and birds in the garden, while getting rid of troublesome weeds.
Hedgehogs are starting to give birth this month and may already have tiny mouths to feed. Last year, we had 37 tiny babies to hand rear, due to their mothers being poisoned or killed in gardens.
Please be careful and think about natural remedies for the garden. The Hogsprickle can be contacted through the website or many of our vet, pet shop or the CISPCA supporters. If you find a hedgehog out during daylight, it needs to be rescued and taken to the vet for a check-up.
Rescue hedgehogs come here under NPWS license and are cared for until fit for release. Call The Hogsprickle for advice and let’s get Clare’s wildlife healthy

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