Eurasian Badger (Meles meles)We were called out to rescue this young badger, discovered hiding in an out-building of a rural residential property.It presented with extensive wounds on its rump, most likely remonstrative bites inflicted by another member of its clan, although there remains a slight possibility of it having been attacked by dogs.The wounds themselves were restricted to fatty tissue layers, but first needed to be thoroughly cleaned of fly-eggs, maggots and detritus, before being packed with a hydrogel to assist fast healing and granulation of the damaged hide.This badger was with us for 10 days, during which time it slept and ate a great deal, so quickly building strength and regaining condition. The hastily improvised enclosure was constructed by tie-wrapping three large dog crates together, to form ample compartments for eating, for sleeping, and for use as a latrine.Once the wounds had healed over sufficiently, it was given a final check-over before being released under consultation with Scottish Badgers and with the help of the property-owner, on a recognisable badger track adjacent to where it had been found, and within sight of an entrance to the only possible sett in the neighbourhood from which it could have originated.
European Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus)We routinely use a series of IP Network Cameras to keep a close, but remote eye, on all the animals in our care without causing them undue disturbance.The camera used to capture this clip uses motion-sensing & infra red lighting to be able to record activity throughout the night; it was set up in this instance to monitor the pre-release activity of hedgehogs, whose mobility and normal feeding routine can otherwise be difficult to properly ascertain, because they (should) freeze and curl-up upon the slightest disturbance.This sequence shows a hand-reared hedgehog displaying ‘self-annointing’ behaviour, whereby they salivate and spread a froth onto their spines, usually after encountering some new taste sensation.Here, the hedgehog can be seen annointing after having licked the anti-slip rubber rim of a stainless-steel feeding bowl.It then heads off purposefully and at speed, to continue its foraging activities.
Great Tit (Parus major)This short video shows an example of the young of an altricial species of bird; youngsters of altricial species (which includes all common British garden birds) require both warmth and feeding from their parents (or surrogate), for a considerable period after hatching.This individual was recovered as a nestling, having fallen (or been ejected) from its nest along with a sibling (who didn’t survive the fall); at the time of filming it had been in care with us for 8 days, but was still some way off the normal development stage for fledging, having just newly acquired a still limited ability to perch.From a rehabilitator’s perspective, young birds such as this are very time consuming, noisily demanding to be fed perhaps every 20 minutes or so during daylight hours. Temperature regulation is additionally vital for them until they are fully feathered, so this one is shown still within a thermostatic, humidity-controlled brooder chamber.
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)This short video shows an example of the young of a precocial species of bird; youngsters of precocial species (which includes domestic chickens and ducks) hatch out with varying degrees of abilities that in altricial species may take weeks to develop.Normally covered in fluffy, downy feathers, they therefore have some ability to self-regulate their body temperatures and (depending on species) will have some degree of mobility almost right after hatching.This recently-hatched individual was rescued after having plummeted from the roof of a four-storey tenement building in Old Aberdeen.As can be seen in the video clip, the youngster is already capable of feeding itself, the only downside from a rehabilitator’s point of view being that precocial birds can sometimes mature more slowly than altricial species, to the stage where they can become fully independent.