Luton animal rescuer has Hedgehog Haven in garage

Heidi arranged to release some hogs in Center Parcs and people's gardens.
Heidi arranged to release some hogs in Center Parcs and people's gardens.

A kind-hearted Luton woman has set up a hedgehog rescue centre in her garage for all creatures small and spiky!

Heidi Brain, 40, runs Hedgehog Haven Rescue from her home in Bushmead, taking care of the critters’ daily cleaning, feeding and weight checks until they are healthy.

Heidi always welcomes donations: cat/ dog food, newspapers and some financial donations. She's also had a microwave, hutch, heat pads, and bowls donated, too!

Heidi always welcomes donations: cat/ dog food, newspapers and some financial donations. She's also had a microwave, hutch, heat pads, and bowls donated, too!

Many stay in Heidi’s garage over the cold winter period, and now it is spring – prime time for release – the animal rescuer hopes to raise awareness about how to create a friendly garden environment.

Heidi remembers: “I was made redundant in 2012, so volunteered at Shepreth Hedgehog Hospital, Royston.

“Here, I would help with the daily cleaning and feeding of around 100 hedgehogs!

“When I got a job at Woburn Center Parcs in 2014 I could no longer help in the hospital, so I ‘overwintered’ hedgehogs in my garage until the spring. Some hibernate, some don’t.

Hedgehogs really benefit from extra food, using it as a supplement to their natural diet. Meaty cat or dog food, hedgehog food, and mealworms are all suitable. Put out a bowl of fresh water daily, because water can be scarce at certain times of the year.

Hedgehogs really benefit from extra food, using it as a supplement to their natural diet. Meaty cat or dog food, hedgehog food, and mealworms are all suitable. Put out a bowl of fresh water daily, because water can be scarce at certain times of the year.

“I run this small centre by myself and have up to five hogs at a time, as they are still very small! I’ve rescued around 30.”

Heidi’s top tips:

1)Make a 13cmx13cm hole in your fence. This is big enough for hogs to visit (but too small for most pets).

2)Hedgehogs are good swimmers, but can’t climb out of steep-sided ponds and will drown. Get a pile of stones, a piece of wood or some chicken wire to create a simple ramp.

One of Heidi's rescue hogs.

One of Heidi's rescue hogs.

3)Leave the plants/weeds/grass to grow in a corner of your garden, and add thick stems or branches to build a hog house. Try a log pile, too!

4) Remove litter – hogs can become trapped, and replace netting with a rigid structure and keep it taut.

5) Put out food and water.

6) Stop using chemicals.

7) Check before strimming and/or lighting a bonfire. Hogs can’t hear strimmers.

For more information, visit Hedgehog Haven Rescue on Facebook.