For over 25 years Hessilhead has cared for Scotland's injured and orphaned wildlife, aiming to rescue, treat, rehabilitate and release birds and animals back to the wild



December 26th 2014

I hope you are all enjoying the Christmas break. Some of you, I know, have been out walking, and found an injured bird or animal. Thanks for bringing them to us.

The week before Christmas was busy, with Ray, a very emaciated otter cub, arriving on Saturday afternoon. Ray was found near Mallaig on Friday evening. He was on the road, cold and wet, and when we received a video of him later, we didn’t think he had any chance of surviving. It was a big surprise to get another video later in the evening, showing him trying to climb out of a cage. Even so, we were worried about the cub, and after a eating a few sprats, who declined to eat any more. So we bought trout, and he likes that. It was a real treat to peep into his cage on Christmas morning, and see that for the first time, he had eaten fish left in his dish, without any encouragement. Ray can’t walk properly, because he has no hind leg muscles, but he is getting stronger every day. We are looking forward to him meeting Squeaky, the other otter cub, who is eating well and getting quite podgy!

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We had been hoping that another potter would come into care, as rearing two cubs is better than rearing one. It prevents cubs getting friendly with people. Perhaps you can wish too much for something!! A couple of hours ago two more cubs were brought to Hessilhead. They are brother and sister, found near Twynholm, squeaking loudly and one of them narrowly escaping becoming a buzzard’s lunch. The Twynholm twins are sleeping soundly, probably exhausted after wandering far, searching for a missing mum. It makes me wonder how many cubs are orphaned and never found.

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Earlier today our first grey seal pup of the winter arrived. Surprisingly she is a white coat, so a very late pup. She was found at Ballantrae yesterday, and people kept her overnight. What a lovely guest to have for Christmas. She weighs 10kg and has a bit of a wheeze, so has been treated with wormer and antibiotics.

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Next came a cygnet. This youngster was found at Bowling, with a big hole at the nape of its neck. The wound isn’t fresh, and we don’t know how it happened. It is stitched up now, and the cygnet is eating. Isn’t wildlife tough?

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