A hedgehog has suffered a ‘horrific’ and ‘painful’ death after it was found to have swallowed a fish hook. The ‘juvenile’ hedgehog was found entangled in a fishing line in a Nantwich garden on October 2.
The animal was freed and taken to the RSPCA Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre. But when he was uncurled and examined, staff discovered he had swallowed a fishing hook that was attached to the line.
A spokesperson for the RSPCA said an x-ray showed the hook had ‘perforated his oesophagus’. The hedgehog had to be put to sleep due to the extent of his injuries.
RSPCA Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre and Cattery manager Lee Stewart said: “When we examined the hedgehog’s mouth under general anaesthesia, the line was visible going further into the body.
“Sadly it was not possible to remove the hook and line surgically, so we decided the only option was to put him to sleep.
“It is a really sad incident, which should serve as another reminder of how vast are the repercussions of litter to wildlife and how devastating the consequences can be.”
The RSPCA described fishing litter as a ‘serious problem’ affecting wildlife across the country that usually affects waterfowl. The organisation hit out at the ‘careless actions of some anglers’ and urged them to ensure any litter is taken home or properly discarded.
Mr Stewart added: “We know most anglers are very responsible – but the number of incidents we have to deal with highlights what a problem this is for wildlife. We urge anglers to follow the Angling Trust’s Take 5 campaign and to dispose of unwanted tackle responsibly.”
Staff at Stapeley Grange provide specialist care for the rehabilitation of wildlife throughout England and Wales. They also work with several wildlife rehabilitators, who can respond to emergencies like this one.
If you can’t find a wildlife rehabilitator to help, then contact the RSPCA online or call 0300 1234 999. To support the ongoing work of the wildlife hospital, donate to the wildlife centre’s JustGiving site.