Pumpkin with a spice for life

Wednesday 8th November 2017

Tyrina Gibson with Mike Pratt Northumberland Wildlife Trust Chief Executive and Pumpkin the hedgehog, photo Fiona Dryden

Northumberland Wildlife Trust is urging members of the public to be on the look-out for hedgehogs on the roads this autumn as they wander round in search of somewhere to hibernate.

The wildlife charity issued the plea after a member of the public took a young hedgehog into its headquarters in Gosforth, having been found wandering along the side of Jubilee Road in Newcastle.

Suffering from dehydration, the male hedgehog, now called Pumpkin, is currently being looked after by Tyrina Gibson, a PDSA veterinary nurse who, along with her colleagues, has set up The Wildlife Retreat in Cramlington.

Much to the delight of Trust staff, Pumpkin was whisked away to be warmed up before being given fluids and food to strengthen him, prior to his eventual hibernation. Hedgehogs often have two litters of babies, so it is thought he is from a second litter, which explains his size so late in the year.

As little as 10 years ago, the hedgehog was a common sight in gardens, hedgerows and parks but it is fast disappearing from the UK, and since the 1950’s, around 95% of hedgehogs have been lost.

In the countryside, hedgerows have been removed, pastures ploughed up and pesticides used, reducing food sources and shelter and, in the towns, green spaces have been built on, fences installed and gardens paved and tidied so that traditional corridors where hedgehogs used to roam in search of food, mates and places to nest have dramatically reduced.

Mike Pratt, Northumberland Wildlife Trust Chief Executive says: “I am delighted Tyrina and her colleagues are taking the time, effort and expense to help look after the region’s wildlife when it’s in need of help.

“Everybody can do their bit for hedgehogs by creating a little area in their garden that mimics woodland for hibernation such as a pile of twigs or leaves or raked up grass cuttings in a pile next to a wall for shelter - it’s a great excuse not to tidy up the garden this time of year.”

Hedgehog lovers can keep an eye on Pumpkin’s progress via The Wildlife Retreat Facebook page or, should anybody have a concern about the welfare of a hedgehog, they can contact Susan Wilson, Northumberland Wildlife Trust Receptionist and hedgehog foster carer on: 0191 284 6884 or via email: susan.wilson@northwt.org.uk.