At the end of November an adult hedgehog was found at the bottom of a ventilation shaft outside Minchinhampton church. She had fallen between the cast iron bars covering the shaft at ground level about 5 feet above. The Help a Hedgehog Hospital was contacted and I was given the task of trying to rescue her. By the time I arrived with my tool kit, she had crawled through a small hole in the surrounding stonework where she slept for the remainder of the day. Over the course of the next few days all attempts to rescue her were in vain.....it seemed she was always one step ahead! I managed to gain access to the floor of the shaft via a small opening from inside the church and left food and water to keep her alive until a solution was found. She was entombed for an estimated 10 days, before I eventually succeeded in capturing her in a box using bait and a trap door.
I'm hoping to obtain permission to place netting with a smaller mesh over the shaft to prevent a recurrence of this unfortunate event. She was taken back to the hospital for a health check and proved none the worse for wear. As she weighed 970g she has sufficient fat reserve to survive hibernation, so she was duly released in a hog box in the grounds of the church on 8th December. We have named her Charlotte after the lady who first alerted us to her predicament.
Hedgehog numbers have declined dramatically in the UK in recent years, so every one we save is important. Fortunately there are still a few to be found in and around Minchinhampton, but we cannot afford to be complacent.