The Bilton Hogspital is a private hedgehog rehabilitation facility based in the Bilton area of Harrogate. It is run by Teresa Marshall, who started caring for hedgehogs in this way in 1995. Although Teresa is listed as a hedgehog carer by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, the Bilton Hogspital is completely independent, voluntary and unfunded.
|"Tiggy" a former patient|
The hedgehogs come mainly from the Harrogate area but occasionally from much further afield in the county. The Hogspital generally deals with about 300 - 400 patients in an average year. At any one time there is normally an average of 30 sick, injured or overwintering animals in the facility, with a maximum of 60 in-patients all at the same time on one occasion!
|Main hedgehog ward|
The indoor wards consist of stacked, plastic pet carriers which, to ensure the required warmth, share the house and central heating with Teresa and her husband Robert! These beds all require cleaning and supplying with fresh food and water every single day. Washing the soft cloth bedding ensures the washing line is hardly ever empty!
|Washed hedgehog bedding|
Food and Drink
Food for the large-scale hedgehog catering can be a varied menu of non-fishy cat food, cat biscuits, dried mealworms (in moderation), special Hedgehog Mix, raisins, plain buns, etc. Cow's milk is not suitable for hedgehogs but occasionally goat's milk can be used, especially for motherless young hoglets, who may need feeding by hand every hour! Plain water is the drink for older juveniles and adults.
|Feeding a young hedgehog patient with goat's milk|
|Outdoor rehabilitation runs|
Once nursed back to health and up to the required weight, the hedgehogs are returned to the wild in a controlled and supported soft-release programme. This gradually gets them used to being outside, being wild again and starting to fend for themselves. The final stages of this programme are often assisted by local people with suitable hedgehog-friendly gardens. Where possible, and safe, hedgehogs are released near to where they were originally found.
|New delivery of outdoor hedgehog boxes|
Various donations including food, bedding, etc. by local people, and also often by those who have found and brought in the hedgehog patients, all help to defray the costs. The Hogspital is also well supported by our local hedgehog-friendly vet.
|Teresa Marshall - Bilton Hogspital|
The ongoing work of the Hogspital takes up many hours every day and can also involve many long phone calls providing advice on hedgehog care to others. However, it is most rewarding to be able to return a high proportion (60–70%) of the sometimes initially extremely weak and sickly hedgehogs back to the wild in a healthy state, ready for a second chance at life!
The British Hedgehog Preservation Society
The website at http://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/ has lots of hedgehog information and downloadable leaflets. BHPS can also supply advice and contact details for local hedgehog carers - call 01584 890 801. (Updated Sept 2018)
UNFORTUNATELY, WE HAVE HAD TO CLOSE TO ALL NEW ADMISSIONS WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT - 28/09/2019 - Please contact BHPS for your nearest carer, thank you.
Contact details for Bilton Hogspital are available via The British Hedgehog Preservation Society at the telephone number shown above (01584 890 801)
If you have a hedgehog with a problem PLEASE ring that number for details of your nearest hedgehog carer.
PLEASE DO NOT POST HELP REQUESTS HERE! THIS SITE IS NOT MONITORED FOR THAT PURPOSE. Thank you.