Scalesexpress recently provided a set of weighing scales to the Hedgehog Bottom hedgehog rescue centre in Berkshire for weighing poorly hedgehogs.
Here's what Gill at Hedgehog Bottom had to say about the scales and what they do at the centre -
"Thank you so much, the scales arrived and are in full use. We are so incredibly busy here now we've had to close our doors for a while until we can get some of these out to foster care.
Hedgehog Bottom is based in the south of the UK and has small charity status. We take in sick, injured and orphaned wild hedgehogs that are in severe decline all across Europe and we are now dealing with well over 500 a year and rising. We are proud to be able to say that we release well over 90% of our intake back to the wild where they belong.
These animals have been on the planet for at least 15 million years and are considered to be one of the last remaining dinosaurs. Due to habitat loss they are coming into contact with mankind as they move into surburban gardens in order to find food and shelter and that's where the problems start. From pesticides to poisons, rat traps, netting, ponds with no escape routes, mowers, shears and strimmers these little guys have to run the gamut of all the possible dangers we can throw at them. In addition they have to deal with domestic dog attacks as well as abuse by people using them as footballs.
Many hedgehogs come in with very nasty injuries especially those that have come up against mowers, shears and strimmers. Large numbers, especially in the autumn and winter when they are feeding up ready for hibernation, find that their natural food - earthworms, caterpillars and beetles - are in short supply due to gardens with non-native plants to support them or regular pesticide use which eradicates them. They then resort to eating slugs and snails which give them lungworm, a lethal parasite, and if we don't get the hogs in quickly for treatment it kills them due to suffocation.
We are also have to deal with animals suffering due to the old wives tales of milk and fleas. People still insist on giving wild animals milk even though most of them are lactose intolerant. Hedgehogs are particularly so and milk can kill them. Very few hedgehogs have fleas but people routinely spray them with dog and cat flea treatments, most of these contain a solvent which causes breathing difficulties in hedgehogs and, if liberally applied, will kill them.
We only use medications that are appropriate for the condition. Injuries are obvious but parasite and bacterial infections can only be traced by use of feacal samples and weight. Weight is one of the best indicators to hedgehog health and so every animal on the premises is weighed daily and a record kept. Once they start to lose weight consistently we know there is something wrong.
With an average of 60 animals in the hospital at any given time during 2012 our scales get a lot of use and many of the cheap scales we've bought in the past have proved to be a false economy as they become unreliable very quickly. Veterinary scales are of no use to us as they don't weigh in the 1g increments we need. We often take in hoglets from disturbed nests weighing 19g and need to monitor daily gains of 1g or 2g.
It's also useful to have a container on the scales, firstly to stop the little devils from escaping whilst attempting to weigh them and secondly so that we can actually read the weight as they have a habit of sticking their bottom over the indicator panel. We are delighted with the scales you have so kindly donated. They really fit the bill, securely holding every size of hedgehog, and we also appreciate the fact that they use normal batteries that are easily available."
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