Hedgehog | www.junemolloy.com
Wild Lithuania

Hedgehog Rescue

This morning, I spent the best part of an hour rescuing this hedgehog from certain death.

I was working in the shed when I heard a strange sound coming from a corner beside a big bale of hay. Not sure of what I might find, I gingerly took a peek and was horrified to discover this poor hedgehog completely entangled in plastic netting from the outside of the bale. He was covered in netting and hay on all sides – if he hadn’t been grunting I would never have found him.

Hedgehog | www.junemolloy.com
Poor mister hedgehog. You can see one piece of plastic I couldn’t remove on his forehead.

I ran to get my gardening gloves and a sharp knife and set about trying to free him. The netting he was caught in was still attached to the bale. He had obviously twisted himself around a number of times, trying to escape, and had created a thick rope of plastic strong enough to hold a human in place, never mind a tiny hedgehog. It took me several minutes to cut him and his entanglement free of the bale so that I would take him outside to the daylight. He didn’t struggle but did continue to grunt.

Hedgehog | www.junemolloy.com
The mess of plastic netting that was tangled into the hedgehog’s spines.

Outside on the grass, I patiently started cutting the fine plastic threads away from his spines. Some pieces were wrapped around his body a number of times, others were threaded through his spines like some sadistic lacework. For the most part, the plastic was so embedded that I had to use the point of a sharp knife between individual spines to slowly tease them out. The hedgehog fell silent as I worked and I was worried that I was already too late. There had been a strong smell of urine and poo at the site where I’d found him, so it’s likely he was there for some time, slowly starving to death. But then occasionally he would flinch, tightening his spines to protect himself before slowly relaxing again. He was most skittish when the knife came close to his face, so I removed most of the threads there my hand. A small few remained after I was finished, but I just didn’t want to use the knife there if it was alarming him.

Hedgehog | www.junemolloy.com
In recovery. I left the dog’s nuts and water beside him in case he was hungry or dehydrated.

By the time I was finished, he was completely still – I had to watch for several seconds for any signs of life. I had seen a wildlife video recently that said dog food was the best option for sick hedgehogs, so I collected the dog’s food and water dishes and set them beside him. I checked on him every ten minutes or so, but he didn’t seem to have moved. Then, suddenly, he was gone. I looked around the garden, but couldn’t find him. I even looked back in the shed to see if he’d gone back to what would otherwise have been a perfect nesting spot, but there was no sign. (While he was recovering I had gone in and removed all the plastic netting so there was no chance of a repeat with a hedgehog or any other animal.) I can only hope he has gone to safer territory. Bon chance, mister hedgehog!

Hedgehog | www.junemolloy.com
The spot where I found him, still attached to the bale.

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9 thoughts on “Hedgehog Rescue”

    1. I was actually horrified at the thought of what could have happened in my own garden, and what would essentially have been my own fault. That netting is great for holding large bales together but it is no friend of the environment. It hadn’t occurred to me before how dangerous it was. Anyway, it’s gone now, and mister hedgehog will live to see another day.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. You absolute savior! How fortunate that you found him and how fortunate that it was you that found him because not everyone would have the patience to work tirelessly and diligently to free him properly. I am sure he will be OK now and you are the lady to thank. Bon courage little hedgehog 🦔 – may your future be free of plastic netting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Osyth! I guess he is lucky – it’s unlikely Arunas would have spotted him and we’re the only ones that go into that shed. Anyway, all’s well that ends well – I’m pretty sure he’s feasting on my windfalls as we speak! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah what a great story June…and with a Hollywood ending! I haven’t actually seen a Hedgehog in this area (Dromineer) in 20 years but locals tell me they are regular visitors to their orchards particularly at this time of the year. Eva’s wish is to see a Hedgehog. ..so I have my camera on the ready! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I was picking redcurrants for wine earlier in the season, I kept hearing this low grunting-snoring noise from a mound (last year’s weeds!) beside where I was sitting. Turns out it was a hedgehog nest with babies! I didn’t get to see the babies, unfortunately, but I think this might have been the same hedgehog. I went out to check the goat in the afternoon and I heard a hedgehog grunting just under the apple tree, so hopefully, our rescuee is refuelling with some windfalls!

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