The hedgehogs in the garden have been keeping me busy just lately. I noticed that one of the big hogs that I had nicknamed “Dumptruck” had a large cluster of ticks behind his ear.
After some consultation with hedgehog rescues on Twitter and some Googling I learned that chemical treatments such as Frontline are poisonous to hedgehogs, so they would need to be manually removed. It is common for hedgehogs to have fleas and ticks, but a heavy infestation could cause anaemia or be a sign of underlying ill health. As dusk fell I waited by the feeding station, Dumptruck eventually turned up and was caught with ease (handled with gardening gloves due to the prickles). He spent a frustrating night in a box lined with paper, with a towel to hide under, plus food and water. The next day I took him to my local vets, The Laurels. I have been frequenting this surgery for many decades with dogs, cats, guinea pigs and lots of rats. Lately they have become accustomed to me turning up with cardboard boxes containing wildlife!
I purchased a tick removal tool which they showed me how to use. There is something rather satisfying about prising these blood suckers from our prickly pals. They then very kindly offered to do the rest. They removed over 30 ticks from the poor fellow! There were some around his face they couldn’t get to due his balling up and it didn’t seem worth the risk of a general anaesthetic for the remaining few, they will drop off when engorged. He seemed to be in good condition otherwise.
He was then brought home and released where I had picked him up. He scuttled under some ivy to sulk. I am pleased to report that I saw him the following night “hogging” the pile of food while another hedgehog was curled up in a ball next to him, presumably Dumptruck has not been playing nice, as usual. He has a habit of barging other hogs.
Meanwhile, some of the smaller adults and the 3 hoglets have been pottering around quite happily.
Special thanks to the Twitter account of Oggles Hedgehog Rescue. I’ll take this opportunity to remind people that they are running a photographic competition to raise funds, full details here.