28, January, 2021
At Spike’s we are constantly amazed at the great lengths our followers will go to in order to make a difference. Caring for hedgehogs is no mean feat and takes time, energy and patience. Luckily there’s people like Ann and Chris in the world and we are happy to name them our Hedgehog Heroes for January!
We sat talked to the pair to find out more about how their journey began and what a typical day looks like running Poppy’s Crêche.
Hi Ann & Chris! Tell us first, how did you both become interested in hedgehogs?
Ann: I first fell in love with hedgehogs when my daughter came across some abandoned babies. I wanted to do everything I could to help and loved the idea of setting up a rescue. I did lots of research and gained qualifications so that I knew exactly how to care for hedgehogs and how to administer medication to the poorly ones. Hedgehogs can be tricky to look after and I needed to become a complete expert before setting out on my journey with Poppy’s Creche.
What do you think is the best thing about hedgehogs?
Ann: Hedgehogs are demure and beautiful creatures and are a big part of our English heritage. They don’t ask for much from us humans and know how to take care of themselves. All they need from us is to protect the remaining wilderness so they can roam safely.
What can we do to promote hedgehog welfare?
Ann: Start small, with your back garden! Make sure you leave a wild patch and provide a hedgehog highway if you can. It’s also worth leaving out food and water in case a passing hedgehog needs a bit of sustenance. Most importantly, spread the word about what you’re doing and try to get friends and family on board!
How did you first get involved with Poppy’s Creche?
Ann & Chris: We founded the charity as we wanted to do our bit to help. We have been rescuing and rehabilitating hundreds of hedgehogs and hoglets over the years, then releasing them back into the Suffolk wilds.
Ann: I’ve become a specialist in raising hoglets, which isn’t easy when you have to feed them every two hours 24/7!
What does a typical day look like for you both?
Ann & Chris: Our day starts at 9am. We begin by cleaning out every in-patient’s home and supply meds to those hogs that need them. We also receive new patients throughout the day, all the while answering and returning any calls we might receive. We do a final check of all the hedgehogs before bedtime, ensuring they are all safe and sound. The patients that are in incubators often need a special bit of attention.
Ann: Hoglet season is our busiest time so I often have to take cat naps throughout the day as I’m up all night- strong coffee and the odd gin help with this. When we aren’t in lockdown, we have an amazing team of volunteers: Liz, David, Tori, Mandy, Patti, Shirley, Annette and student Deanna.
Do you do any hedgehog fundraising?
Ann & Chris: Poppy’s Creche is entirely self-funded and is named after a very special albino hedgehog. We have some lovely donors who help out via our Amazon wishlist page and we also receive donations from Golden Giving. We are lucky to have been supported over the years by some wonderful wildlife friendly companies and small businesses that care about hedgehogs. You can also donate to our easyfundraising page here or purchase items under Amazon smile- simply select Poppy’s creche as your chosen charity and we’ll automatically receive a donation!
Do you have any other plans for hedgehog welfare on the horizon?
Ann & Chris: We want to continue to provide the best possible care for hedgehogs that find their way to our rescue. We know how important it is to research and listen to the experts on how to care for hedgehogs properly so we will no doubt keep up to date on any new developments. Most of all, we aim to continue to spread the word on how people in the UK can do their bit for these national treasures.
What does the future look like for hedgehogs?
Ann: I do have concerns about the future of hedgehogs and I can’t stress enough how important it is for everyone to do their bit. If we can all champion hedgehog welfare and create a safe place for them in our gardens, they might have a fighting chance and reduce the need for them to arrive at the rescue. Ultimately, my wish is for my own grandchildren to enjoy seeing hedgehogs years from now!