2013/05 – Cecil

male juvenile
date admitted 9 Sep 12
pre-release 13 Nov 12
hibernating 19 Nov 12
readmitted 7 Apr 13
pre-release 11 May 13
released 15 May 13

weight on admission 302g
weight on pre-release 902g
weight at second pre-release 1016g
weight at release 1052g

Cecil was discovered crossing the road in Bingham during the day, dragging his right back leg behind him. A trip to the vets and an x-ray discovered that, amazingly, the leg was not broken or fractured so we concluded it was nerve damage and thus temporarily paralysed. He was put onto anti-inflammatories and then it was a case of waiting. And waiting.

We reached the stage where we had to start thinking about possible amputation, but lo and behold, the toes started twitching. With some gentle manipulation each night, he gradually built up strength in the leg and was happy hopping around the place.

Eventually he used the foot more and more until now he is scuttling around like a good un ! There is a slight trace of a limp, but all told he will be just fine and dandy in the wild.

Unfortunately he was then beset with ringworm, so was put on anti-fungal treatment, which stopped the ringworm in its tracks. Aside from one or two very small stubborn spots, he has a full body of prickles and set about tripling his body weight and constructing a magnificent ‘newspaper strip’ hibernaculum. However, he never quite mastered the art of doing the hibernation bit.

A window of opportunity presented itself in mid-November when night time temperatures became a lot milder (above 5 degrees for at least 5 nights), so he was hastily plonked into a pre-release pen.

Cecil went into hibernation for the first time on 19 November, stirring a few times briefly before entering a full hibernation.

He did not awake until April 2013, understandably a little lighter than when he first went into hibernation. However he made up for lost time by piling on around 150g in a week. He was re-admitted to the Lodge as, unfortunately, he had lost a lot of prickles during hibernation so underwent further precautionary ringworm and mite treatment.

Cecil soon became stressed at being back indoors, so we took the decision to pop him back outside, midway through his mite treatment, and still with some missing prickles, although encouragingly there was some re-growth in patches.

Cecil was increasingly stressed at being cooped up in a pen too, to the point where he was starting to injure himself. We grabbed him on 15 May 13 and were pleased to note the regrowth of his spines had reached the point where it would be (just about) safe to return to the wild. Ideally we had wanted to return him to Bingham from where he came, but circumstances dictated he needed releasing to Snape Wood that night before he caused himself some real damage in his quest to escape. Sometimes the animal’s welfare and behaviour forces our hand, as was the case here. We gave him his third treatment of Ivermectin two days early and allowed him the freedom of Snape Wood.

Given he was small when he came in we don’t think there will be any problems with him being released to a different site from where he was found, as youngsters tend to adapt very well to whichever environment they are released.