Sometimes hedgehogs fall into the canal, they can float for a short while and then their lungs fill with water and they drown UNLESS we can fish them out and save them. Since working on the canal I have found a few hedgehogs, some I have fished out, called the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) and they have told me which local vet will take the hedgehog (and give it medical care) before I can then release it into the wild again. So if you do manage to get a live hedgehog out of the canal here’s what the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) say you should do:
'If you have found a hedgehog you are concerned about please use gardening gloves to collect it up, bring it indoors and put it in a high sided cardboard box with an old towel or fleece in the bottom for the hedgehog to hide under. Fill a hot water bottle so that when it is wrapped in a towel there is a nice gentle heat coming through and put that in the bottom of the box with the hedgehog, ensuring it has room to get off the bottle should it get too warm. Make sure the bottle is always kept warm (if allowed to go cold it will chill the hedgehog and do more harm than good). If the hedgehog is bleeding please do not add a hot water bottle as this will make it bleed more quickly. Put the box somewhere quiet. Offer meaty cat or dog food and fresh water then call us as soon as possible on 01584 890 801 for further advice and the numbers of local contacts.
Note that out of office hours there is an answerphone, if you have a hedgehog, please press option 1 and listen to the emergency numbers, these volunteers are not representatives of BHPS, but they will be able to give you advice and numbers of local contacts. Please note as volunteers they are sometimes busy (and need to sleep) so if there is no immediate answer, please leave a message or try later. In the meantime, keep the hedgehog safe indoors as described above, or if in obvious pain and in need of urgent help take it to a local vet as soon as possible.'
It might not always be easy to get to the vet whilst out on the canal but it’s worth it if you do and the hedgehog is saved. If you let the vet know that you are on a boat holiday they will release the hedgehog back for you. There is a landing net on each of our boats to be used if you see a hedgehog in distress.