Bassetlaw hedgehog hospital and rescue warns against strimmers following spike in ‘horrendous’ animal injuries

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An animal-lover is warning gardeners of the dangers of lawn-mowers and strimmers as a Bassetlaw hedgehog rescue centre sees an increase in injuries.

Sue Smith, the owner of 7th Heaven Hedgehog Rescue, has told of the horrors of ‘mangled’ hedgehogs caused by gardeners using strimmers without first checking for animals hiding in long grass and shrubs.

Sue released a statement on the centre’s social media after a young female hedgehog was brought in with ‘horrendous injuries’ to its face caused by a strimmer, which has left the hedgehog unable to ever retu rn to the wild.

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Sue said the hedgehog will likely lose one of its eyes, leaving her to make the ethical decision of whether to nurse it to a new standard of health, or have it euthanized at the vets.

7th Heaven Hedgehog Rescue had 200 hedgehogs brought through their doors in a single year.7th Heaven Hedgehog Rescue had 200 hedgehogs brought through their doors in a single year.
7th Heaven Hedgehog Rescue had 200 hedgehogs brought through their doors in a single year.

She said: “I have been in bits over this little one. I was very upset when it came in.

“People can be so careless in their gardens. We get quite a lot of strimmer injuries because people use strimmers without walking around and making sure there’s nothing in long grass or brambles.

“The sad fact is that hedgehogs don’t run away, they just curl up because it's their natural instinct.

“The strimmer will take part of its head, and the spines on the back of the neck off. It can be really really horrendous.

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Hedgehogs must weigh around 600 grams to hibernate.Hedgehogs must weigh around 600 grams to hibernate.
Hedgehogs must weigh around 600 grams to hibernate.

“A lot of people just take them to the vet now and put them to sleep, but sadly, I don't do that.

“I've got this thing that if it's a man-made injury, then we must try and give them as good of a life as we can.”

The self-funded organisation, run by around 10 regular volunteers, was set up in 2015, and has received around 200 hedgehogs to care for in the past year alone.

The average cost to care for a single hedgehog is £5 a week for medication, food, and incubators, but with the rising energy costs Sue said they are struggling to make ends meet - without added strimming injuries.

Sue is now calling on the public to leave grassy areas in their gardens to encourage insects which will provide food and shelter to hedgehogs, reducing the chance of the already vulnerable-to-extinction animals wandering into dangerous territory.

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She added: "In the wild, they would normally be in the fields. The way we farm now, it destroys all the insects and all their habitat, so they have now come into the gardens more.

“More people are aware now about leaving grass to grow. If you want to help wildlife in your garden, you’ve got to be prepared to leave some wild patches.”

7th Heaven Hedgehog Rescue looks after hedgehogs from Bassetlaw, and as far as South Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

To donate to the hedgehog rescue centre’s fundraiser, click here, or alternatively visit their Facebook page for more information.