A wildlife loving family are warning people against using rat poison, after rescuing a baby hedgehog that had become covered in it.
Anita Nadolleck, 21, came across the hedgehog outside her home inTamar Court, Grantham, on Sunday afternoon.
When she looked closer, she saw that it had a ‘tar like’ substance all over its body, which had glued its mouth shut.
Anita said: “The hedgehog had tried to lick it off, which then meant its mouth was stuck together, so it couldn’t eat or drink.”
Anita took the hedgehog to her family for help and they spent the next 10 minutes carefully pulling off the substance.
Anita’s mum, Sharon, added: “It was everywhere. After getting most of it off, we put the hedgehog into a saucepan with a little bit of kitten milk, which it lapped up – it was obviously very dehydrated.”
The family contacted hedgehog hospital Hedgehog Care, in Louth, where staff referred it to a lady who takes in injured hedgehogs in Crowland, Spalding. She informed them that the hedgehog was actually covered in rat poison.
Sharon added: “We were horrified. Aside from it from being a really inhumane way for any creature to die, people do not realise the impact it has on other wildlife aside from rats.”
Elaine Drewery opened Hedgehog Care in the 1980s and has been taking in injured hedgehogs ever since. She has seen an increase in the amount of hedgehogs being posioned over the years.
She said: “We could not take in this particular hedgehog in but referred it to a rescue place closer to Grantham. Poisoning, whether it be through rat poison, slug pellets or weed killer, is one of the most common reasons that hedgehogs are brought in to me.
“The sad case is that often by the time we have seen them, it is already in their systems and there is nothing more that we can do for them. Only a few nights ago, we had a little one, weighing 200 grammes, handed to us, but she passed away shortly after from either rat poison, slug pellets or weed killer.”
Fortunately, it looks like it is going to be a happy ending for the Grantham family’s rescue hedgehog.
Sharon added: “The lady has let us know that the hedgehog is very happy and curled up in a cosy hat.
“It will remain in her care for eight weeks so it can put on some weight. If it does, we have to collect it and return it to where we found it.
“If the hedgehog is still underweight, she will care for it until next year.”
For more information on what you should do if you come across a hedgehog that you think may have been poisoned, visit www.hedgehogcare.org.uk