Two hedgehogs used as footballs in separate incidents in Wisbech are among those at rescue centre

Bob the baby hedgehog had been used as a football by a gang of boys in Wisbech before he was rescued.

The owner of a Fenland hedgehog rescue has been left appalled after two of the little creatures were treated as footballs in separate incidents in Wisbech.

Bob ended up in the care of Suzanne Lyons, who runs Suzanne’s Hedgehog Rescue based and Walpole St Pete’s, at the end of last month after he was rescued from a group of children who were using him as a football.

Spike was the first hedgehog Suzanne Lyons rescued two years ago - since then she has gone on to rescue dozens more.

He was also found to have potentially life-threatening infestations of lungworm and roundworm from eating slugs and earthworms and has been given veterinary treatment.

Suzanne, who has run the rescue for the past two years, said: “We are still worried about Bob as he has been losing weight, but fortunately he didn’t suffer too many injuries during his ordeal.”

However, fellow baby hedgehog Spooky learned the hard way how frightening Halloween can be after he was abused by a group of men, who not only kicked him like a football, but poured a tar-like substance over him and covered him in beer while they were doing it on Halloween night.

According to a homeless woman, who rescued him from the men, they even filmed their sick behaviour on their mobile phones.

Spooky is doing OK at the hedgehog rescue but is still quite traumatised by his ordeal.

“The homeless woman took Spooky to the vets and nursed him all through the night sat outside waiting for them to open. We don’t know what they had poured over him, but luckily the vets managed to remove the black substance from him. He had to be monitored for signs of shock and internal bleeding.

“He is still very traumatised and curls up really quickly whenever anyone goes near him, but he is doing OK and is being treated for parasite infestations too,” said Suzanne.

At the moment she is caring for 26 baby hedgehogs and says it costs around £40 to £60 over six weeks to care for one depending on what treatment they need.

“People have been very generous in coming forward with blankets, towels and cuddly toys following our appeal on Facebook, but what we desperately need now is money.

Spooky had been used as a football, covered in a tar like substance and had beer poured over him before he was rescued by a homeless woman who took to the vets. He is now at Suzanne's Hedgehog Rescue.

“I’m lucky the vets let me pay in instalments, so I don’t have to worry about finding money for a large bill straight away, but we are self-funding so it is still hard. We have now set up a bank account so people can pay directly into that, we also have Paypal and Gofundme accounts - but those take a percentage of donations,” said Suzanne.

She is also deeply concerned that this weekend will see an even bigger influx of hedgehogs to the rescue as people hold bonfire parties.

“It’s a said fact that many hedgehogs are killed or badly burned in bonfires at this time of the year. I would urge anyone who is having a bonfire to check thoroughly before setting it alight. Ideally move it one foot to the side, so that if there is a hedgehog hibernating underneath it can get away. Just rustling the leaves won’t do the trick because if they are in hibernation mode their bodies are practically shut down, so people need to be really careful when they check,” said Suzanne.

Suzanne blames the mild weather for the number of hedgehogs being rescued. Normally they would be hibernating at this time of the year, instead they are awake. They have also been breeding later in the year and as a result many of the babies are very underweight when they leave their mothers.

Suzanne Lyons with rescue hedgehog Noel, who she successfully released back into the wild.

“As a result they are hungry and are eating things they shouldn’t like slugs and snails which give them the lungworm and roundworm which left untreated kills them,” added Suzanne.

Donations can be made at Nat West bank - Suzanne’s Hedgehog Rescue - sort code 55-81-28 a/n 94797498

Or donations of cat and dog food, puppy pads, bin bags, kitchen roll etc can be left in a collection bin behind the self service checkout of Morrison’s supermarket in Wisbech - there is a full list on the bin of what is needed and there is also at collection bin at Drivers Opticians in the town centre.

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