Tuesday, 20 October 2009

A visit to St Tiggywinkles

I'll tell you about this fellow (pictured above) in a few moments. First, let's talk about the little hog I found in the garden last night and posted about yesterday. I rang St Tiggywinkles and was told that I had indeed done the correct thing in bringing the hog inside and putting it in a box with food, water and bedding. I was advised to bring it in to St Tiggywinkles as soon as possible, because at 300g it was underweight and would not be able to survive hibernation.

So, off to St Tiggywinkles we went. Thankfully, it wasn't too far a drive (and thanks to Ben for being the hedgehog ambulance man). At reception a nurse was called and she scooped the hedgehog up and took him/her off to the nursery. I asked what would happen to the hog, and was told that they'd try to fatten him/her up but it was unlikely it would reach the required weight to survive hibernation, so the most likely scenario was that the little hog would be kept in the hospital for overwintering and released in the spring when it was big enough to make its own way in the world. I felt a little sad that I didn't have the chance to say goodbye to the little hog, but was happy that it was now in safe hands.

While we were there, we thought we may as well take a look around the visitors centre. There were a fair few enclosures but the animals themselves were thin on the ground. We figured that hedgehogs, badgers and foxes would all be sleeping. Thankfully, there were a lot of birds to be seen at the pond, else we would have seen very little.

Below we see a cygnet which was sharing an enclosure with another cygnet.

I was surprised to see a few juvenile seagulls, seeing as how they are hated by so many people. It's nice to know that St Tiggywinkles doesn't discriminate.

St Tiggywinkles also has the world's first and only hedgehog museum, featuring every imaginable cultural reference to our spiky friends.

One of the staff, a very pleasant lady, asked if we'd seen any hedgehogs whilst out in the visitors centre. I told her we'd only seen those through the windows of the nursery, where we'd seen babies and juveniles like the one I brought in being weighed by a nurse. They were very cute, but unfortunately we were not allowed to take photos. We were then taken outside to see one of the permanent hedgehog residents at Tiggywinkles - this is the chap in the next two photos and the one at the beginning of this blog post.

It is believed that this poor hog had suffered some kind of head injury as his right eye was visibly bulging. He seemed very relaxed whilst being held, and it was an honour to meet him!

So, what started as an emergency visit to a wildlife hospital turned out to be a very entertaining day out. All the staff we met seemed very friendly and are obviously all animal lovers and dedicated to helping animals. They are a fantastic organisation! If you get the chance to visit, do so, and if you are able, please help them with a donation.


  1. You have done the very best for your little hog -
    He couldn't have gone to a better place to be looked after.

  2. Well done G L. It is sad to part with a little hog but at least you know it will be well looked after.
    I think all the hog hospitals and carers are very busy at this time of year with many second brood offspring not having put on enough weight for the Winter.

  3. They said that had 485 hogs in the hospital (486 with the one I took in) and can have as many as 800 in the winter!

    They do seem to be very organised and I have my utmost faith in them. I feel my little hog is in safe hands and now stands a fighting chance to grow up to be a big hog!

  4. I can concur with you that it's a great place to visit. We had to take our eldest son - who's training to be a vet - back to the RVC earlier this year, so I took a detour to visit St.Tiggies. Most enjoyable and educational afternoon.

    Well done on your rescue.