The owner of a West Norfolk hedgehog rescue charity has been left appalled after two of the little creatures were treated as footballs in separate incidents.
Bob ended up in the care of Suzanne Lyons, who runs Suzanne’s Hedgehog Rescue at Walpole St Peter at the end of last month after he was rescued from a group of children.
He was also found to have potentially life-threatening infestations of lungworm and roundworm from eating slugs and earthworms and has been given veterinary treatment.
Suzanne, who has run the rescue for the past two years, said: “We are still worried about Bob as he has been losing weight, but fortunately he didn’t suffer too many injuries during his ordeal.”
However, fellow baby hedgehog Spooky learned the hard way how frightening Halloween can be after he was abused by a group of men, who not only kicked him like a football, but poured a tar-like substance over him and covered him in beer while they were doing it on Halloween night.
According to a homeless woman, who rescued him from the men, they even filmed their sick behaviour on their mobile phones.
“The homeless woman took Spooky to the vets and nursed him all through the night sat outside waiting for them to open.
“We don’t know what they had poured over him, but luckily the vets managed to remove the black substance from him. He had to be monitored for signs of shock and internal bleeding.
“He is still very traumatised and curls up really quickly whenever anyone goes near him, but he is doing OK and is being treated for parasite infestations too,” said Suzanne.
At the moment she is caring for 26 baby hedgehogs and says it costs around £40 to £60 over six weeks to care for one depending on what treatment they need.
“People have been very generous in coming forward with blankets, towels and cuddly toys following our appeal on Facebook, but what we desperately need now is money.
“I’m lucky the vets let me pay in instalments, so I don’t have to worry about finding money for a large bill straight away, but we are self-funding so it is still hard.
“We have now set up a bank account so people can pay directly into that, we also have Paypal and Gofundme accounts - but those take a percentage of donations,” said Suzanne.
Suzanne blames the mild weather for the number of hedgehogs being rescued. Normally they would be hibernating at this time of the year, instead they are awake.
They have also been breeding later in the year and as a result many of the babies are very underweight when they leave their mothers.
“As a result they are hungry and are eating things they shouldn’t like slugs and snails which give them the lungworm and roundworm which left untreated kills them,” added Suzanne.
Donations can be made at Nat West bank - Suzanne’s Hedgehog Rescue - sort code 55-81-28 a/n 94797498