On Tuesday 26th April 2016, Dr. Brian May and Anne Brummer launched a joint campaign to save Britain's hedgehogs in Portcullis House, London. The campaign is called #AmazingGrace in honour of Grace a rescue hedgehog that came into Harper Asprey Wildlife Rescue last autumn, underweight and suffering from 'fly-strike' in a deep wound to her neck.
We are helping Grace the Hedgehog and her friends as they are in very serious trouble. Grace is one of our rescued hedgehogs and she needs a safe home to be released in. The areas in which we can safely release Grace are dwindling and over the last 30 years we have seen a massive decline in a safe, sustainable environment for Grace and her friends.
Hedgehogs are very useful visitors to any garden. They eat slugs, beetles, caterpillars and a variety of other cute creepy crawlies, in fact, everything that makes holes in your plants will probably be the prey of these spiky fellows, making them a must have in any garden.
Hedgehogs are considered the gardener’s friend as they can help keep some of the garden pests under control. However, whilst they can give us the pleasure of seeing them as they wander across our gardens late at night; we can cause them a lot of problems with our gardening activities.
Grace and her much-loved ‘spiky friends’ face numerous hazards throughout their lives, out in the country and in urban areas. Many of the problems they face are created by Man. LET’S HELP GRACE! Take a look at the factors that contribute to her decline and see how you can help. Here is Grace’s view of some of the main threats:
Grace was found with a neck wound. She came to us and was treated for 'flystrike' (myiasis) and her deep cut was cleaned. Some of the fly eggs were also found inside her mouth. Fly eggs can hatch into maggots just eight hours after being laid and start feeding on their host. In nature, this process is essential to remove dead and decaying wildlife from the environment, but on a live animal, it is usually fatal. Nature is harsh but effective.
Take the challenge and read these amazing things we have observed about Grace and her friends
• Grace relies on her sense of hearing and smell when foraging for food at night. #AmazingGrace
• There are 16 species of hedgehog. #AmazingGrace
• When hedgehogs mate they often make loud snuffling noises. #AmazingGrace
• As Grace rummages in the hedge for food she grunts and snuffles like a pig, hence the name hedgehog! #AmazingGrace
• Hedgehogs in cold climates hibernate over the winter. #AmazingGrace
• In warmer climates, such as deserts Grace will sleep through heat and drought in a process similar to hibernation called aestivation. #AmazingGrace
Hedgehogs have survived for over 15 million years and are thought to be one of the oldest mammals on earth. They are not found in America or Australia but are found to be widespread. They have changed very little in their time on the planet. Hedgehogs all have hollow hairs that are made from the protein keratin that human hair and fingernails are made from.
There was once a country man who had money and land in plenty, but however rich he was, his happiness was still lacking in one respect - he had no children. Often when he went into the town with the other peasants they mocked him and asked why he had no children. At last he became angry, and when he got home he said, "I will have a child, even if it be a hedgehog.".
In most European countries, hedgehogs are believed to be a hard-working no-nonsense animal. This partially results from the folk belief that hedgehogs collect apples and mushrooms and carry them to their secret storage. It is unclear exactly how old this belief is though the Roman author Pliny the Elder mentions hedgehogs gathering grapes by a method in his Naturalis Historia.
A Camberley man, Alex Flint, was given a nine-week suspended sentence and a 12-month supervision order for using a hedgehog as a football in April 2011. The man was charged at Guildford Magistrates Court on the 3rd October 2011. Another pleaded not guilty and charges were dropped against him on the 24th October 2011.
Whilst Anne was out walking with her dog in the early 1983 She found a small hedgehog stuck in a fence. He was too fat to go through and his prickles wouldn’t let him go back. He had been pushing so long in an attempt to free himself that the wire had cut into his body and his leg was bleeding where he had pushed and pushed against the ground.