This morning we had an extremely traumatised sub-adult female arrive after being dug out of her nest by two dogs. She weighs just 440g and we have named her Rosa.
After the dogs had found her, they rolled her around on the lawn of a garden and picked her up like a ball before their owner could pick her up. She was extremely cold, has several puncture wounds to her back and top of her head, as well as some broken spikes and bruising. She had small pieces of mouth tissue and saliva from the dogs on her prickles, so they are also injured. It is likely she will have more bruises appear over the next 24 hours.
She was clearly terrified, so we were not initially able to unroll her. After her wounds were cleaned, she was given an antibiotic injection, warmed sub-cut fluids and left to calm down in a darkened warm shed. However, on monitoring the CCTV in her incubator, we recorded that she spent over four hours post arrival rolled into a tight ball, just hissing and huffing, so deep was her trauma.
This afternoon she was much calmer and on being picked up, she did not roll up this time and we were able to check her legs and belly for wounds, as well as to see whether she was male or female. Fortunately, she has no injuries apart from those on her head and back. These wounds are not deep, having broken into the fatty layer beneath the skin, but not pierced the muscle layer beneath, which is lucky.
While it is not necessarily something that can be foreseen that a normally well behaved family pet dog would attack a wild animal, it should always be remembered that it is always *possible*, no matter how soft the dog may be towards their human family or other pets such as cats. If you know you have hedgehogs in your garden, particularly if they are nesting on the ground, rather than in a hedgehog house – please always supervise your dog in the garden. It may save the life of a hedgehog and will certainly save you money on vets fees if your dog attacks a hedgehog and then gets an infection in it’s mouth from the prickles.
Sorry for such a rant in this post, but seeing this little hedgehog is such a distressed state was pretty disturbing, particularly when it could have been avoided, since the dog’s owner knew Rosa was nesting beneath a shrub in their garden.