'Shearer' the hedgehog lucky to survive ordeal trapped in deep hole on Newcastle football pitch
A hedgehog who got stuck inside a football goal post tube in Newcastle happily didn’t need any injury time.
He’d squeezed himself into the hole after the posts were taken down on pitches at Scotswood Social Club near to Newcastle Blue Star football club, only to get firmly wedged in.
The tube was closed off with a cap, but when it was removed by youngsters playing on the field they found the terrified hedgehog imprisoned nearly two foot down below pitch level. The RSPCA was called and after several rescue attempts, Inspector Jaqui Miller was able to gently prise him out with a thin rod normally used to close cat carriers.
“I had to improvise as I couldn’t get my fingers down with gloves as he was stuck in so tightly. The only thing I found that I could squeeze down there was the cat carrier pole which was thin enough. It has a loop at its end, which went neatly underneath the hedgehog’s body, so I could gradually push him up,” recalled Jaqui.
“He was a big adult male and when I got him out you could tell he’d been down there for a while. He was dehydrated as his eyes were sunken.
“He stunk of something and was covered with the white chalk of the pitch markings.”
Fortunately, the hedgehog emerged relatively unscathed from his ordeal on Tuesday, May 10 and Jaqui took him to Sunderland-based animal charity Pawz for Thought, where he was given pain relief and treated to a hearty meal of hedgehog food.
Staff at the centre have appropriately christened him with a famous footballing name, Shearer, after the former Newcastle United striker and TV pundit Alan. They plan to release him back in the area he was found.
Jaqui added: “Shearer was fortunate as he would have died without food and water. One of the teenagers who found him tried to get him out with his bare hands, but he was getting hurt on the spikes.
“When I’ve rescued hedgehogs previously they have been stuck in places that have been easier to access. Fortunately, the carrier rod did the trick and when he was free he curled himself into a ball and was off to Pawz for Thought.”
The RSPCA advises anyone that finds a wild animal that is trapped to not try and free it by themselves. Wild animals can scratch, kick and bite, particularly if they are injured. Or as in the case of this hedgehog they can prove difficult to handle without protective clothing and specialist equipment.
An RSPCA spokesperson said: “You could risk hurting yourself and the animal. Many animals that become trapped or tangled can be more seriously hurt than you think, so it is best that they are examined properly to see if they need treatment.
“You should keep a safe distance and call the RSPCA cruelty and advice line on 0300 1234 999.”
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals, visit their website or call their donation line on 0300 123 8181.
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