Hedgehog
Photo Credit: Sarah Kempen / JWVH

The Johannesburg Wildlife Vet got a call about a hedgehog and to their surprise, when she arrived, she had given birth to several hoglets.

 

Johannesburg, South Africa (02 December 2021) – South Africa has an incredible diversity of wildlife and protecting them is one of the top priorities. That is why there are so many animal-welfare organisations in the country. The Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital is one of the first places a wild animal goes before it is rehabilitated and released.

The veterinary hospital treats all indigenous wildlife free of charge. Most animals found abandoned, injured or trafficked, end up at the hospital where they are checked for any medical issues and treated. Once they are in a stable condition, the veterinary hospital connects with one of their many partner organisations to send the wild animal for rehabilitation and eventual release back into the wild.

Their most recent patient is a Southern African hedgehog. We were under the impression that the hedgehog was an animal from the United Kingdom and are so excited to learn that they are indigenous to Southern Africa as well. The veterinary hospital shared how this little hedgehog was found, rescued and how she is adapting.

“A Southern African hedgehog (Atelerix frontalis) was found in a residential garden. The homeowner was concerned about the welfare of the hedgehog, especially as there were dogs around. The hedgehog was brought to us for relocation.

Unbeknownst to all of us, this hedgehog was pregnant and gave birth to SIX hedgehoglets just before arriving at our hospital! All hedgehog family members were weighed and carefully checked for any injuries. We are happy to report that everyone was healthy and unhurt. We created a quiet, cozy environment for mom and hoglets – stress is a huge issue with hedgehogs and newly born babies, and the mother might kill and eat the young if she feels overwhelmed.

We are monitoring the family and ensuring all the hedgehoglets are nursing well. Once the babies are weaned and all eating successfully on their own, the family will be released into a safe environment. The mom and babies cannot be released at this stage as the mom would abandon the babies if she is suddenly released into a completely new territory. This is true for most females animals/birds with new babies. If the female is not familiar with the area, the predators, the food etc, she will abandon a young baby in order to save herself. A young baby is a liability and will attract predators. This is why it is always best practice to wait until the young is weaned or fledged and self sufficient, so that they can look after themselves when released into such a new environment.”

Bugs are an essential part of a Southern African Hedgehog’s diet. According to Wikipedia, they mainly eat earthworms and crickets but have also adapted to eating beetles, grasshoppers, and slugs. Often found in gardens, the Hedgehogs have also become accustomed to eating dog food, which is why they sometimes fall victim to dog attacks.

“Please help us keep mom hedgehog full and healthy for her babies! Currently she is devouring large amounts of insects in order to provide enough milk for six babies. She currently favours superworms and mealworms!”

You can sponsor mom’s meals here. The Silkworm Shop will deliver all her food directly to the hospital on your behalf. Take a look at the adorable little family below.

This photo was the first one taken when the hoglets arrived, the title image is 2 weeks later. Amazing how much they changed in 2 weeks.


Sources: JWVH
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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