Please Note: our hospital is open 24/7 with covid-secure procedures in place. Where possible, please do try to bring animals in before 8pm to help our staff and volunteers. However, if you have a sick or injured animal that needs urgent help, do not hesitate to turn up any time. Thank you!

WELCOME TO THE WORLD'S BUSIEST WILDLIFE HOSPITAL

WELCOME TO

TIGGYWINKLES

Our Hospital is open 24/7, 365 days to care for all sick, injured and orphaned British wildlife. We care for over 12,000 animals every year

red-kite-homepage-who-we-are

WHO WE ARE AND
WHAT WE DO

Tiggywinkles is a free wildlife hospital, the busiest and most advanced in the World. Started 40 years ago by the Stocker family in their back garden, Tiggys has treated over 300,000 patients! Utilising the latest technologies, the best veterinary nurses, and Specialist veterinary surgeons, the hospital gives wildlife the best care, treatment, medicine and love available. Our aim is to get everything back to the wild.

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WORRIED ABOUT A
WILD ANIMAL?

Find out when a wild animal is in need of assistance and when it should be left alone.

 

 

Fox

TIGGYWINKLES
VISITOR CENTRE

The Visitor Centre is open to everyone to provide education & information on our specialist work.

 

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SUPPORT US

Find out about all the different ways you can help us in our life-saving work.

 

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Enter your own amount

£10 one-off donation

£10 will bandage a fox's leg

£25 one-off donation

£25 will feed a hedgehog for a month

£50 one-off donation

£50 will x-ray a badger

Enter your own amount

£3 monthly donation

£3 will feed a baby bird for a day

£5 monthly donation

£5 will buy a bottle to feed a baby mammal

£10 monthly donation

£10 will bandage a fox's leg

Want to donate quickly through Paypal? No problem! Please click on the link above to be taken to our Paypal portal. Thanks for your kind support.

LATEST NEWS

Two-day-a-week Work Experience Placements

We have an opportunity for two-day-a-week work experience placements, working Mondays & Tuesdays, 9-5, for a minimum of 10 days/5 weeks or longer if wanted. Tasks are hands on husbandry, cleaning & feeding in the hospital wards and outside rehabilitation enclosures. You need to be over 16, have current tetanus cover and be able to work independently, in this very busy wildlife hospital environment. Placements are available from now to the end of July. Work Experience Application TwoDay 2022 For more information on Work Experience at Tiggywinkles, please click here.

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Metaldehyde Slug pellets are now officially banned in the UK!

Good News! Metaldehyde Slug pellets can no longer be sold or used in the UK, as of Friday 1st April, because they mainly contain a pesticide called Metaldehyde which poses an unacceptable risk to birds, dogs, and wildlife such as hedgehogs. We know slugs munching on your prize-winning lettuces can be irritating but slugs and snails play a hugely important role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem! In March 2022 the RHS announces that they will no longer be classing slugs and snails as pests saying “The RHS is all too aware of the role that gardens have in supporting biodiversity and as such will no longer label any garden wildlife as pests”. So, if possible, we urge you to get rid of slugs without killing them. Some wildlife friendly alternatives to slug pellets include: Hand Removal Go out at night with a torch and collect all the snails and slugs you can find in a bucket. Then relocate them. It’s best to take them a bit further than your neighbour’s garden! Damp Cardboard Slugs and snails like to hide in dark, damp places. Put a piece of damp cardboard in the garden, held down with a rock and you can then venture out and check it regularly and collect and remove any of the slugs that have congregated there. Encouraging Predators Slugs are food to many other animals, so in some ways it’s best to encourage their predators into your garden so they can eat the offenders. If you build a wildlife pond, you’ll encourage frogs (and loads of other wildlife and insects) into your garden and let nature do its thing. A wildlife pond doesn’t have to be huge either. Other animals that find slugs tasty are ducks, hedgehogs, birds, slow worms and even beetles. Put a log pile in a corner of your garden to encourage beetles and they’ll keep the slug population down.

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A day in the life of the Hedgehog Room, by Dot Walton

When I enter the Hedgehog Room, I start first at the heated bank, as the most poorly animals are here. I look at each Hedgehog’s admittance card, which has all the information on the patient since its admittance telling me what is wrong with it and what medication has been prescribed by the vet. I will then weigh the Hedgehog and check this against its card, to see if it is putting on or losing weight. Also daily, the students on cleaning the cages will note how much each hedgehog has eaten and how much water it has drunk. Then we can effectively monitor each hedgehog’s progress. If the hedgehog has come in with a wound or injury I may need to unroll the hedgehog to check it. This is done by gently bouncing the animal in my hands to make it unroll (‘The Archers’ theme tune I find works best!). With one hand under its chin and the other under its back end, I hold the animal open against myself, so that the underside and legs can be checked over, this also leads to the strange ‘tattoo’ marks left my midriff! If the wounds are infected I then flush them, but if I have any concerns I will write the animals name and admittance number in the procedure book so that it can be checked thoroughly by the vet under General anaesthetic, if necessary. Any medication or fluids will then be given to the animal (fluids if they are not eating, losing weight or if they are dehydrated) A hedgehog with leg, pelvis or spinal injuries will also be checked on walking. Those with movement problems may be put on the hydrotherapy list, as swimming is a very good exercise to build up muscle mobility. I will then check each hedgehog in this manner working my way through the room. If a Hog has flaky skin or is losing any spines it will need to be checked for both ring worm (a fungal infection) and mites, very small organisms that live on or in skin, also known as “walking dandruff”. Both of these can be identified in the lab and easily treated. These animals are last of the daily list of treatment and are kept away from other hedgehogs to prevent the spread of these problems. Another common problem we look for is lungworm – especially bad in wet Spring and Autumn. As soon as possible after admittance a faecal sample is taken and checked in the lab for worms and eggs. If a hedgehog has lungworm it may have a bad cough and its droppings may be very smelly and bright green. This can be fatal. Treatment needs to be started straight away. Easter is when people start their gardening year, and this is when we get many gardening related injuries to hedgehogs. Lawn mowers and strimmers both cause problems, but so can compost heaps, bonfires and people with garden forks! In June the hedgehog babies (urchins) begin to come in, again often due to disturbed nests in compost heaps, bonfires and under hedges. If these are not injured, babies usually go out to our foster mums. They are very time consuming. Once weaned, they come back to the hospital and when up to weight (dependant on time of year – closer to winter the heavier they need to be). They are released in pre-checked safe gardens. In late Autumn we start to get in many hogs we mark as TSTH (Too small to hibernate). Often there is nothing wrong with these animals except that they do not have the fat reserves to safely hibernate and, weather dependant, we may have them in the hospital for 4-5 months. At Christmas we may have over 400 Hedgehogs in the hospital which is a lot of daily checks and an awful lot of dog food! When patients are recovered they will be put outside to acclimatise before release in the Spring. Those with permanent problems such as eye loss or damage, loss of limbs or permanent injuries, will go out to the Visitor Centre where they are in a protected environment and regularly checked and can live their lives safely. Hedgehogs are not the cleanest animals in the world but they do have their own personalities, some will huff and puff and try to spike you, others seem to watch everything you do! If you find a Hedgehog be sure to bring it to us, don’t worry about fleas as they are host specific so won’t live on us or cats and dogs. Dot – Veterinary Laboratory Officer

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Come for a day at Tiggywinkles this Half Term. Closed on Sundays.

We have plenty of exciting activities planned to keep the little ones busy! We have various animal talks, arts and crafts sessions and even the opportunity to meet some of our permanent prickly residents! The full schedule can be viewed below:  

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When to help a baby bird and when to leave them alone

With the lighter nights and warmer weather comes baby season! Every spring and summer we take in hundreds of baby birds, some of which may not have needed to be picked up. Please see below a useful guide of when to help:

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BBC The One Show

We were delighted to have a team from BBC The One Show, along with presenter & zoologist Hannah Stitfall, here with us for a day filming our work with hedgehogs. You can watch the episode on BBC iPlayer by clicking the link below. https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m0013dsl/the-one-show-12012022 Thank you to all at the One Show for featuring us!

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Channel 4’s Steph’s Packed Lunch at Tiggys

We were delighted to have the team from Steph’s Packed Lunch here filming at Tiggywinkles, take a look at how they got on in the video below. Shared with thanks to Steph’s Packed Lunch and Channel 4!  

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Hedgehog Included on First Red List for British Mammals

We were disheartened to learn that the hedgehog has been included in the first red list for British mammals. It is important that we do what we can to help the declining population, so we thought this would be a good opportunity to share with you some ways we can all help hedgehogs, especially in our gardens. Gardens are a popular habitat for our native hedgehogs but sadly, many modern gardens are not very hedgehog friendly. It is so important to remove hazards that can cause harm to our prickly visitors. Pesticides like slug pellets, barbed wire, netting, bonfires, some wood preservers, and gardening tools like strimmers are all potentially fatal to hedgehogs. Take a walk around your garden and look out for any cosy, dry, sheltered places where a hedgehog might like to nest. Thick hedges, dense brambles, scrub patches and hedgehog houses are all popular spots. Consider planting hedges, as these make ideal shelter and provide food for lots of wildlife! As well as putting out a shallow dish of fresh water and some tinned dog or cat food every night, you can help hedgehogs find food by leaving some areas of wilderness with long grass, dead wood and leaves so hedgehogs can forage for bugs and grubs. Hedgehogs seek well-connected habitats so as well as making your gardens hedgehog friendly, it is important to make sure hedgehogs have access to neighbouring gardens. Try create gaps in your fences (around the size of a CD) and encourage your neighbours to do the same! With the recent hot weather we have been having, it is important to put out water for hedgehogs every evening and it will help all the other wild animals in your garden too! We urge you to share these tips with your friends and family! If you would like more information, please take a look at our hedgehog fact sheet: https://www.sttiggywinkles.org.uk/hedgehog-fact-sheet/

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Covid-19

Due to the ongoing situation with Covid-19 we are doing all we can to ensure we can still be here for wildlife in need. We are still open 24 hours a day to take in animals. To keep our staff and the general public safe, we are still asking everyone to wait at the front doors and ring the doorbell for attention. One of our team will then come to collect the animal and take some details at the doors to reduce the numbers of people coming into the hospital. There is no need to call or email ahead, you can just turn up with the animal. For help with large animals please call 01844 292292. For all non-urgent enquiries please either email [email protected] or contact us via our social media channels – Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. Please do bear with us during this time as responses may take a little longer than usual. We have set up some donations bins at the front of the Hospital, so if you are passing you can still drop off newspapers, dog & cat food or other items without having to enter the building – your kind support is greatly appreciated. We wish you all the best during this time and thank you for your support and understanding.

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Grey Squirrels

Due to the recent changes in the law we are no longer legally allowed to release rehabilitated grey squirrel. For more information on this please click here. This awful ruling has of course put wildlife rehabilitators, vets and members of the public in an incredibly difficult situation – we all want to do the best we can to help wildlife in need. To ensure we can provide those squirrels who desperately need life-saving care with the help they need we are working under strict guidelines on what we can do to help. PLEASE NOTE: We can no longer take in any grey squirrel from outside of our area (please see the map below). If you are worried about a squirrel and are not from our area please see www.helpwildlife.co.uk for local contacts to help. Juvenile Squirrels Every year lots of baby squirrels are picked up as suspected orphans. As these little squirrels will no longer be able to be released, it is far better for them to be left in the wild wherever possible, instead of being condemned to a life in captivity. Squirrel Nests: Before cutting down trees and carrying out gardening works in the Spring and Summer months please carefully check for the presence of nests and baby squirrels. If you suspect a nest, leave the area well alone to give the mother a chance to rear her babies safely. If a nest or tree is accidently destroyed and the babies are exposed or on the ground, carefully pick them up in as much of their nesting material as possible (andwhilst wearing gardening gloves!) and pop them as close to the nest site as possible. Please then come away from the area and monitor from a safe distance. This will give their very dedicated mothers a chance to come back for her young. Please keep cats and other animals inside during this time. If the mother does not return, they will need help. If you are in our area, please call us on 01844 292292. If you are not local, please see www.helpwildlife.co.uk Sub-Adult Squirrels: Sometimes juvenile squirrels can be found alone when they are first finding their feet – they are not always scared of humans and can even sometimes approach people. They will look similar to the squirrel pictured here. At this age it is possible to support them in the wild and help them without picking them up – this is preferable to condemning them to a life in captivity. If you have a squirrel like this in your garden or local park you can provide food and even water to help them out. A shallow dish of water and a handful of mixed (unsalted) nuts, such as pecans, and some digestive biscuits or baby rusks will be gratefully received by most youngsters. Please do not attempt to handle the young squirrels or attempt to tame them. They must remain as wild as possible. Please continue to feed and monitor them, call us if you need any help or advice to make sure you are doing the right thing – 01844 292292. Very young babies, or any age squirrel with obvious injuries, may need help. If you are in our area please call 01844 292292 or see www.helpwildlife.co.uk if you are not local. Adult Squirrels Squirrels are very hardy animals. If you find an adult with obvious injuries – they may need veterinary help. If it is in our area, please call us on 01844 292292 or if you have it safely contained in a box you can bring it in to us. If you are not local please see www.helpwildlife.co.uk for the nearest centre who can help.

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There are a number of ways you can help and support our life-saving work.

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