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Four legs good. Three? Not so bad!


A plucky hedgehog attacked by a fox has been given a clean bill of health – despite losing a leg.

The dedication of volunteers who run the Kings Stanley branch of Help a Hedgehog Hospital (HHH) has meant that ‘Emma Bridgewater’, who featured in our video, in May, can now return to live a free life with her original siblings.

So named because she was originally taken to the hospital in an empty ceramics box, Emma Bridgewater was taken in by Carole Deuten, who runs the Kings Stanley branch of the wildlife rescue group.

hedgehog | Four legs good. Three? Not so bad!
Spike of life: Carole Deuten (left) who runs the Kings Stanley branch of Help a Hedgehog Hospital with carer Jan Marshall. Picture: Simon Hacker.

“She’d lost some weight but we were positive about Emma’s prospects,” said Carole. But closer examination by former vet nurse Annie Parfitt, who established the HHH in 2008, revealed Emma was missing a hind leg. 

“It had been bitten clean off,” said Carole. “The injury tallied with the original report that the resident had watched a fox dancing around her, early one morning back in April.”

After a course of antibiotics, Emma was kept under observation and all expectations were that she’d have to be adopted as a semi-domesticated pet.

But the hog’s rate or recovery and ability to fend for herself gave the hospital the confidence to allow her to return to her original habitat – where her siblings still live.

Carole Deuten, a carer at the Help a Hedgehog Hospital in Kings Stanley, with one of the patients.
Carole nursed the hedgehog back to full health.

“It’s great when people make the effort to help wildlife,” said carer Jan Marshall, who lives in Stroud. “People tend to back off from hedgehogs and shrug if they find one in trouble, but Emma’s story shows we can help to save this treasured species that’s under threat in the UK – one hedgehog at a time!”

If you spot a hedgehog that’s wandering about in daylight, it is often a sign that something is wrong. Carole’s advice is that it may be suffering from hypothermia, even at this time of year.

“Place the animal on a warm water bottle, wrapped in a towel and put in a cardboard box lined with newspaper – and cover the box in a blanket. Leaving the box is a quiet place, phone us immediately. You can also offer it some water and meaty cat food when it has warmed up.”

You can contact the HHH in an emergency on its 24-hour helpline: 07870 378207 or 01453 823871, or call during evenings and weekends on 01453 886424 or 07867 974 525. To donate direct via Paypal and find out more, go to helpahedgehog.org.

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