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Chair’s Welcome

I am delighted as Chair of the Friends to welcome you to our website. Bushy Park and Home Park are two wonderful large green oases in the south west corner of London. Feeling wild, they are natural places with ancient histories, fascinating heritage and superb wildlife. Both are Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) containing rare species. These are places to be enjoyed and conserved. Which is why the Friends exist, campaigning, supporting and protecting the parks, and enhancing visitors’ enjoyment with information, advice and guidance.

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Hedgehog rescue

Hedgehog rescue

A talk given by Sue Kidger on 23rd. September 2010.

Sue is a remarkable person! She has been rescuing hedgehogs for 10 years and keeps them (up to 45 at any one time) in the larger of two top floor rooms in her town house in Twickenham.

The rescued hedgehogs are sick, injured or orphaned and her aim is to release them back into the wild. This is not always possible if they are too badly injured, blind or cannot ‘prickle up’ (raise their spines) Some will remain with her, others go to secure gardens. Her dedication means feeding 2 day old hoglets every 2 hours using a syringe. They are eventually weaned onto liquidised puppy or kitten food – as they are meat-eaters bread and milk must not be given.

Life Cycle:
They start to hibernate in October/November under leaves, sheds etc. and usually come out in April/May. The priority is for food, then if the female wants to mate, she flattens herself, mating occurs and the male disappears.

Gestation is 35-40 days; there are 3-5 in a litter with each hoglet the size of a small mouse. After 2 hours white spines appear; at 2 weeks they open eyes and ears and grow soft brown spines; at 4 weeks all spines have grown, they can see and hear and have whiskers and a small tail. In the wild, the mother stops feeding at 6-8 weeks and they separate to fend for themselves. They are sexually mature at 6/9 months and there may be a second litter in the autumn. The young from this litter will not gain enough weight to hibernate (need to be minimum 600g) and the mother will leave them and hibernate herself.

Sue is rescuing young from now throughout the winter and will release them when it is warm enough in the spring.

Dangers:
Swimming pools and ponds – they can swim a short distance but need something to climb out onto.

Bags of garden refuse which have been left open.

Netting on the ground, as they get caught and all spines go up.

Slug pellets – metaldehyde is poisonous

Humans can disturb hedgehogs as they sleep during the day. They are a gardener’s friend as they eat slugs and other insects.

Foxes – a fox cub may bite a young hedgehog and, once the skin is pierced, bluebottles lay eggs and the maggots then eat into the flesh. This may be so severe as to necessitate removing a back leg.

Badgers are a natural predator.

Other dangers include bonfires and cars.

Sue’s enthusiasm was evident throughout the talk which was sprinkled with amusing (some risqué) anecdotes including her appearances on television and an encounter with Alan Titchmarsh. She became more well known in 2009 when she had two albino rescue hedgehogs.

The climax of the evening was the appearance of two adult rescued hedgehogs – Reese and Goldie who came out of their hutches and were admired by all.

Many thanks to Sue for a very entertaining, amusing and informative evening.

Report by Jane Cliff, October 2010.

Why we need more Friends

With more members our voice is stronger when we campaign to protect the Parks, and with more subscription income we can do more to provide information and education about the Parks, their wildlife and their history.

Join us today!

Walks & Talks

Forthcoming event

Thursday, 23rd Nov 8:00 pm

The Royal Parks in the Great War. Talk by David Ivison

Latest report

A perimeter walk of Home Park led by Nicholas Garbutt was enjoyed by over 45 people on 2nd September.Walk in Home Park- 2nd September

Full report...

Information Point

The Information Point next to the Pheasantry Welcome Centre café is where our volunteers help visitors to find out more about the parks and where visitors can purchase souvenirs of your visit to support our work.

Click this panel to visit our Information Point section and also to find out how you can get involved as a volunteer.