New 'hedgehog hub' to open at animal rescue centre
By Martin Paul - Senior Reporter
A DEDICATED hedgehog rehabilitation hub is to be opened at Wetheriggs Animal Sanctuary after it rescued scores of the creatures last year.
Along with the new facility, the shelter will also be upgrading its reptile centre and create a bat cave for the 38 Egyptian fruit bats it has taken in.
Shelter operator Terry Bowes said: “Last year we had so many hedgehogs. We took in 64 and another six in the winter, so we will have a rehabilitation centre devoted solely to hedgehogs.”
Once rehabilitated the creatures are returned to the wild.
The shelter, which is adjacent the A66 near Greta Bridge, re-opened its doors last month after being forced to close because of an outbreak of avian flu at Ravensworth.
The closure was necessary to protect the rare bird species bred at Wetheriggs, but it had a serious impact on the centre’s finances.
Now it is hoped that six open days planned for later in the year will boost its coffers.
Those who attend the days can enjoy a tour through the exotic creatures’ area, which will include the new reptile facility. Mr Bowes said: “We are looking at the whole of the reptile house and it will be eco-friendly with a heating system fuelled by animal dung.”
The area will accommodate various types of snakes, geckos and bearded dragons.
Also housed are various mini-beasts such as stick insects and spiders.
Mr Bowes said: “We have loads of baby tarantulas at the moment.”
The centre is open to visitors seven days a week from 10am to 4pm.