Haven for hedgehogs in Caistor

Laurie Fox and Ruby Roo, who arrived at the Caistor centre when she was just three days old EMN-190901-161315001
Laurie Fox and Ruby Roo, who arrived at the Caistor centre when she was just three days old EMN-190901-161315001

When she first moved from her California home to the wilds of Lincolnshire, Laurie Fox had no idea what a hedgehog was - now they dominate her life.

It was Laurie’s husband Mark who first introduced her to this array of friendly creatures.

Ruby Roo the hedgehog EMN-190122-104504001

Ruby Roo the hedgehog EMN-190122-104504001

Laurie said: “Mark was talking about them (hedgehogs) and I just had no idea.

“So he took me to see Elaine Drewery at Hedgehog Care in Authorpe and I was hooked.

“I was so excited when I first had a hedgehog in my garden - I was telling everyone.

“Then people seemed to think I knew about hedgehogs and started bringing me them, so I would take them to Elaine.

“I became like a satellite of her centre, but then I decided to set up Caistor Hedgehog Care and things have just grown.”

Now, former nurse Laurie regularly has dozens of injured or young abandoned hedgehogs in her care.

Two years ago over the Christmas period, there were 91 hogs residing at her North Street centre, and this year there were 80.

Laurie’s plan is always to reintroduce the hogs back to the area from where they came, but a small number are unable to be released.

Laurie said: “Once they are well enough, they go into a pre-release pen, which is a much more natural environment for them.

“The can get used to snuffling around for food.

“If we can’t take them back to the area they were found in, we have a couple of ‘safe’ places we can release them.”

However, before they can be released, the hogs often need care and attention - some of which can only be done at a vet’s, which means money.

But it seems Laurie isn’t the only person who has a passion for the hogs, and she says she has been overwhelmed with the support her recent crowdfunding page received.

She said: “We are very lucky with our local vets who help us as much as they can.

“Our account is always in debit and we pay off what we can when we can.

“This recent crowdfunding meant we actually went into credit - for a short while anyway.

“Our raffles went well too, and we have some people who give us donations on a regular basis.

“One lady sends £1 a month as it is all she can afford, but that really means a lot.”

As well as money for bills, donations of chicken-flavour cat biscuits and paper towels are always needed, as well as unwanted gifts for raffles.

Laurie is also looking for a patron for Caistor Hedgehog Care.

If you find a sick hedgehog, or need advice, call Laurie on 07342 985915.

Laurie added: “The centre is open 24/7 - hedgehogs don’t just get ill from 9 to 5. The porch is always open.”