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A Strange Winter for our Wildlife


30th January 2017

Last Updated: 6th April 2020

This winter has certainly been a strange one so far for our wildlife. The mild start to winter was much welcomed. It helped us get about a third more hedgehogs back out to the wild than we would normally be able to. We still have about 100 in care.  The warm weather does have its draw backs however, as we are seeing birds starting to build nests.

A lot of parasites won’t be killed off without the very cold temperatures this winter either.  I wouldn’t be surprised if ringworm is not going to be a problem for our wildlife this spring if it stays mild.  We have seen a few cases this winter already.  The cold weather we have experienced has been fairly short lived. In order to hibernate properly hedgehogs need consistently cold temperature rather than just for short periods of time.  The more they have to come out of hibernation the more fat reserves they use.

Winter Hedgehogs need help

Last week’s cold snap saw two of us sleep over at the Casualty Centre due to the severe weather warnings.  It is our biggest worry that no one would be able to get to the Casualty Centre in the event of severe weather, so we stay over for safety.  Luckily we don’t have to do this very often although the night we stayed we didn’t get much sleep due to one of the foxes being rather active in their enclosures all night.

Swan recovering in hospital

This week’s fog and icy conditions have certainly caused a few problems over the past week.  We have had several calls about swans and geese crash landing in the fog, including three reports in Eastbourne in less than an hour. Later that night one of our rescuers Tony rushed to the aid of a Swan at Newick. The callers managed to contain the youngsters in their garage until rescuers arrived. Casualty Manager Chris checked over the swan back at WRAS’s Casualty Centre and after a day’s rest the swan was taken back out for release.

WRAS rescuers Kathy and Katie jumped on board the ambulance with me to attend to a fox caught up in stock fencing at Ardingly. We attended after the landowner had been present at a WRAS Talk on Friday last week. With very few other organisations covering the area WRAS agreed to help. You can see the rescue footage of the fox on our YouTube Channel.

Fox trapped in fencing

We are still getting hedgehogs coming in. Our latest hedgehog from Seaford was admitted suffering from a possible ear infection, just over 500 grams and out during the day, as well as dehydrated. Rescuer Hannah Stainton and Karen Francis attended and delivered the casualty back to the Casualty Centre where it is now being looked after.

We have also dealt with a hedgehog out during the day in Raymond Close Seaford, a report of an injured cygnet in Norman’s Bay, a report of a Swan in distress in Shinewater and calls regarding swans trapped in ice in Princes Park Eastbourne. Luckily it turned out that none of the swans were actually trapped in the ice.

Related Internet Links:
East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service
WRAS Facebook

WRAS Twitter

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