Based in Orton Malborne, Nick Penniall (36) and Shelley Brennan (33) have been providing care to hedgehogs across the city which have found their way to the Peterborough Hedgehog Hotel. The rescue centre run at Nick and Shelley’s house has helped hundreds of hedgehogs who have been found by residents throughout the year.
During December alone the community of volunteers helped to take in 257 hogs, of 156 were successfully rehabilitated and released. Nick said: “This may not sound like a great success rate but unfortunately hedgehogs hide their problems rather well and don’t tend to show signs of distress until it’s almost too late. It’s vital potential issues are picked up quickly.” Looking ahead to 2022, the rescue centre which is run out of Nick and Shelley’s spare room, the volunteers hope to build a dedicated ‘hogspital’. Nick said: “It’s been a better year for us as a rescue. We’ve taken on more foster carers, and the team of supporters we have has grown. We’ve had more people offering help from providing food and beeding and helping collecting patients when we’re unable to.”
“As we go into 2022 we are hoping to expand our capabilities as a rescue, with the hopes to build a dedicated ‘hogspital’ instead of running the operation from a spare room. This will increase the numbers we can take in, and mean that we can finally welcome in the many people that have offered to volunteer in the glamorous day-to-day jobs like cleaning poo-covered enclosures, they really are a mucky species!”
The PHH charity have relied on grants and donations as well as local businesses who have offered to help.
For the pair, every hedgehog has been loved and cared for by the team. A very special hog was Phoenix who came in with a severe wound from a strimmer. When the charity took Phoenix to the vets, one told them to euthanise while another said to give her a chance. With tender loving care and medication she made a full recovery. Nick said: “On release day we and her finders cried, there were times we didn’t think she would make it because of where the wound was she would have nerve spasms as she walked. Her finders often message us to say she’s still around in their garden. She’s got quite a large scar and her quills grew back with a noticeabl difference in the way they sit on her body she’s easy to spot. Strimmer injuries are very common, we’ve had many of the 101 needed euthanasia because the damage is far too severe, but she was a lucky one!” The hotel has also helped nurse sick pregnant hedgehogs who went on to give birth to healthy babies who were treated for parasites their mum had passed on during the pregnancy. Nick hopes people will continue to lookout for hedgehogs and provide them with food and water through the year and give them suitable foods. Nick said: “The only foods suitable are cat or kitten food, wet dog and cat food, or brambles/spikes specific hedgehog food. No seeds, nuts, dried or live bugs ,fruit or vegetables as all of these are detrimental to hedgehog health. A nest box provided if possible is great too.. To get in contact if you’ve spotted a hedgehog which might need assessment you can get in touch with the Peterborough Hedgehog Hotel on their Facebook page.