The owner of a wildlife sanctuary near Lincoln has issued a warning to people to check bonfires before lighting them, after a hedgehog was left covered in burns and fighting for her life.
The hedgehog, who has since been named Phantom due to it looking like she has a mask, was taken to Wildline Wildlife Sanctuary in Saxilby. She was found walking around in circles in a family’s garden in Nettleham and the sanctuary’s owner Julie Smith told them to bring the hedgehog to her.
The hedgehog, who is less than eight weeks old, arrived at the sanctuary covered in fly eggs and with burns to her skirt, her little legs, paws and face. She is still fighting hard for her life.
Julie told The Lincolnite she believes the injuries were caused by the hedgehog getting caught in a bonfire or walking through the embers of one.
She tried to cool Phantom’s skin down with water and has been applying burn cream to the animal three times a day. Phantom has also seen a vet, who gave her antibiotics to clear any infection, while some people donated cream and wound spray to the sanctuary.
Julie said: “When the poor little mite came in she was burnt all the way down one side of her face and on the skirt (where the prickles start and the skin underneath).
“We are taking it day by day, but she is currently doing better and hopefully she will eventually be released.
“She has just been bathed and recreamed, the little mite is a fighter and it looks like she will pull through, but I want to warn people to check bonfires before lighting them and to move them to make sure there is no wildlife underneath.”
Ever since a poorly pigeon landed in her garden 33 years ago, Julie has been caring for sick and injured Lincolnshire wildlife at her sanctuary.
Julie currently has around 30 baby hedgehogs at the sanctuary, including Phantom. On Saturday, July 31 another hedgehog was dropped off to Julie by a staff member from Tesco in Gainsborough, who had found him wandering around the supermarket’s car park.
Julie added: “It is the time of year where hedgehogs leave their mums and get caught out and are not sure how to look after themselves. Hedgehogs are endangered and we need to look after our little prickly friends.
“It has been a manic time with more and more animals being brought in, including hedgehogs, ducklings, buzzards, owls and kestrels, but this also shows that people care about wildlife.”
Julie also advised that it is best not to give a hedgehog milk or dried meal worms, and instead you should put water out, along with meaty flavoured dog or cat food/biscuits.
Julie has self-funded her sanctuary from her own pocket, along with donations from other people, but the coronavirus crisis has made it extra challenging as she was unable to participate in fundraising events.
She said she is desperate for donations and anyone wishing to donate can do so through PayPal at [email protected]
The sanctuary can be contacted on 01522 703686 and also has an Amazon wish list for items that are needed for the animals and birds in Julie’s care.