The ISPCA responded to a call from the public after a passerby notices a hedgehog roaming around a housing estate in Carrigaline, Co Cork, in a disorientated state.
ISPCA Senior Inspector Lisa O’Donovan located the hedgehog and brought it to a local veterinary clinic in Mallow that specialises in wildlife care. The hedgehog, later named George, was admitted for veterinary care as he was suffering from a serious eye injury and was also underweight.
Speaking about George, Lisa said he is doing well in care and his injury is healing.
"Without intervention, he would not have survived the winter. There have been sightings of a number of foxes in the area and I suspect George may have been attacked.
Unfortunately due to building works being carried out in the housing estate, a lot of wildlife have been displaced and this little guy was probably looking for food and somewhere warm to hibernate over the winter months.
“Sick and injured hedgehogs are very susceptible to hypothermia and we are delighted that George is getting stronger every day. He will be kept at the wildlife sanctuary over the winter months and then re-released in the spring once he receives a clean bill of health from the vet.”
Hedgehogs are known as the gardner's friend as they like to eat insects, slugs and snails but do no harm in the garden.
The ISPCA advise that if making a hedgehog house, find a shady spot in the garden out of direct sunlight, as it is important the hedgehogs have a south facing secure exit, rather than being out in the open as they need to feel safe when they emerge.
Hedgehogs hibernate from October/ November through to March/ April, however they can remain active well into December during mild winters.
If you find a hedgehog, the ISPCA say to keep direct human contact to a minimum. Hedgehogs should be kept warm, by placing them in a large box with plenty of clean, fresh hay and crumpled newspaper or dry leaves until help arrives.
For more information visit: www.ispca.ie