A rubbish life for hedgehogs

Hedgehogs are known for getting themselves into prickly situations and many meet an unfortunate fate on our roads every year. However, there is a new dangerous threat facing our hedgehogs- rubbish. As part of our ongoing series on our ‘throw away society’, JUS news visited Cawthorne Hedgehog Rescue to investigate the plastic peril facing our British wildlife. 

Volunteers Anita and Allan Broadhead run Cawthorne Hedgehog Rescue from their home. Though its a small facility, it comes complete with its own ‘hogsprickle’ for treating injured hedgehogs and a safe rehabilitation space to nurse hedgehogs back to the wild. The pair are hedgehog fanatics and treat everything from a case of the snuffles to dog bites and now tin can injuries.

Anita rescued this hedgehog from a nasty brush with a tin can

Their efforts are largely self funded and a single hedgehog can cost hundreds of pounds to care for properly, especially when they receive cuts and abrasions from plastic and tins discarded in parks and by the road side.

Their dream is to see every hedgehog they treat back in a safe space around where they where found, but sadly due to rubbish they can’t always go back.

They rescue hedgehogs from all over South Yorkshire and Anita said that “House hold waste and plastic ‘allotment’ mesh” is one of the biggest culprits for harming hedgehogs.

Discarded plastic allotment mesh can be a real problem

“They are just so inquisitive, they get into the plastic or the tin cans to explore, but once inside they can’t get out so they panic and twist their bodies and do more harm. I’ve seen hedgehogs lose their limbs to plastic mesh and in serious cases it can cause them to die in awful stress,” said Anita.

Snowball, one of the tamer hedgehogs at the ‘hogsprickle’, is ready for release tomorrow, but due to humans trying to tame him, he will never be fully released to the wild.

Poor Snowball is too tame for the mean streets


“People do interfere but these are wild animals, the only time you should ever intervene is if you see one in true distress and you should call someone like us. Though with so much that they can get trapped in, rescuers are being forced to step in to treat them and sometimes we have to relocate them to a cleaner area,” said Allan.

His new home will be in Anita and Allan’s luxury hedgehog garden where he’ll be safe from predators and, of course, from litter.

Anita and Allan at the hogsprickle

Allan said he once spent nearly two hours cutting a hedgehog free from a discarded cricket net. The hedgehog was freed and re- released but, harrowed by the experience, they kept a sample of the mesh in a bid to ask the local club to clean up their equipment.

The mesh responsible

So next time you think about throwing away a tin can or plastic four pack ring, Allan and Anita ask that you think of the hedgehogs in their centre and recycle problematic materials with care. If you want to see the hedgehogs on video visit our Facebook page for more.