Quite possibly the cutest thing I’ve ever taken photos of… sadly, it would have been so much better had I not had the opportunity.
She’s just over a week old, and being hand-reared at the Forth Hedgehog Hospital. And she’s there because somebody’s dogs found her nest. The dogs’ owner, instead of calling them off and making sure they didn’t go near the nest again, allowed them to pull the hogs out several times over the course of a few days, because “they wouldn’t hurt them”.
And it’s true, the dogs didn’t actually hurt them. But they stressed mother hedgehog out so much she eventually killed three of the hoglets and ran off. This is the only one that’s left, and although she’s doing really well, she has about a 50% chance of surviving.
So keep your fingers crossed and if you should ever come across orphaned or abandoned hoglets, call your nearest wildlife rescue… don’t try rearing them yourself. It takes experience, skill, and expertise. And they still need to be lucky.
UPDATE: She is now eating solid food all by herself, and has grown a name. Keep going, Ruby!
FINAL UPDATE: Ruby was released into my garden about a month or so ago and is now, I hope, happily hibernating in a nice, dry spot somewhere, as hedgehogs do. Very happy about that :0)