Happy Ramblings: The story of Choggie the hedgehog

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The story of Choggie the hedgehog

A few years ago I found Choggie our resident hedgehog wandering by the house in a terrible state. He had lost almost all of his prickles, was covered in maggots and was running in circles trying to keep the flies off him.

I put him in a box and ran inside to phone Hedgehog Rescue to see if they could help him. But Hedgehog Rescue had no more room for another hedgehog! They gave me instructions on what needed to be done to help Choggie and how to feed him. I was told it would be a 3 month struggle.

I found a friendly local vet that doesn't charge for treating wild animals. All the visits were free and so were the medications. The vet even refused to accept any donations!

The vet and a vet nurse cleaned Choggy up and gave him antibiotic injections, plus an injection to kill the mange mites which had caused his prickles to fall out.

I then had to learn how to give Choggie antibiotic injections every day for 5 days and then repeat them after 2 weeks. I was told that hedgehogs in this condition don't usually survive and not to get attached to him and if he managed to survive 2 more weeks he would be fine.

When the vet first weighed Choggie he was 300 grams, then after 3 weeks he weighed 600 grams. This is the perfect weight for hedgehogs to go into hibernation. Such a relief since Autumn was approaching.

We kept Choggie in a cat cage in the laundry with lots of newspaper and old rags to snuggle up in. I had to clean his cage and feed him twice and sometimes three times a night. It is amazing how much a little hedgehog can eat.....we should have called him Piglet!

Then one morning he had disappeared from his cage. We searched the house but there was no sign of him. We thought my father had put him outside, but he was adamant that he hadn't. I had a look on YouTube and found videos of hedgehogs actually climbing cage walls! So that is what he had done, plus got through the cat door! I was quite upset because he was half way through his second course of antibiotic injections and he still had no prickles.

Then a couple of months later he showed up again with lots of soft new prickles all over and he was still tame. We left tinned catfood out for him and drank water from the bird bath on the ground. I was told to never give hedgehogs cat food containing fish or it will make them ill....and never to give them bread or milk.

Mum took the photo at the beginning of this post when Choggie re-appeared. He has such a cheeky face and is really quite sweet. We made sure he had enough food to build himself up again for hibernation time which wasn't far off. Hedgehogs go into hibernation when there have been a few days in a row of temperatures below 10 degrees C.

And here is another of our little garden helpers finishing his meal of cat food. We don't know if it is Choggie or not. I would like to think it is.

See you soon.


Rose x

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