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Notes from St Tiggywinkles: Aloe, aloe, aloe Vera’s growing new spines

Vera the hedgehog

Vera the hedgehog

  • by Les Stocker, founder of St Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital in Haddenham
 

“Hedgehog down drain!” Happens all the time. Invariably jammed in inextricably, we now have a technique to get them out using their spines to their advantage.

That, however, was the problem with hedgehog Vera she lacked spines making it nigh on impossible to get her out of her drain.

When, eventually, she was out of the drain, the shock was having no spines at all on her front end with only her rump being normal.

Even more shock was that the bald skin seemed to have been attacked with something almost like an acid. Perhaps inadvertently drain cleaner had got to her.

Back at Tiggys, as we washed her affected skin, the relief was her eyes, nose and ears were clear of any chemical.

She seemed strong as we dried her in a warm towel and fairly glowed (metaphorically) as she was massaged with soothing aloe vera gel from Holland and Barrett.

Afraid of her getting cold she went straight into her own pen, in the heated bank of hedgehog cages we keep for new admissions.

She made short work of a hearty meal. She must have been starving.

Twice daily she soon took to relishing that aloe vera massage. She even stayed relaxed and unrolled growing to love the pampering. Her skin looked healthy but would she ever regrow her spines? We all remember the totally bald Spud who, in spite of remedies from all around the world, never did grow any.

After a few weeks Vera grew fitter and fitter. But no sign of any spines.

Then just before Christmas a short stubble appeared. Every day saw proper spines emerging.

Would they drop out as happened to Spud? No these spines were glorious, gleaming and sharp as needles. Give her a couple of months then she will be able to be released.

 

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