Animals fight starvation in dry summer season
DESPITE the UK's rainy reputation, it has been one of the driest summers in decades.
And while this may be good for boosting our tans, animals used to more regular and plentiful rainfall have suffered in the unusually dry summer.
WEAKENED: Wildlife Aid founder Simon Cowell with a kestrel that was found dehydrated and close to death Photo No: REAK20100806-D002_C by Alec Kingham
STRUGGLING: Simon Cowell with a baby hedgehog brought in because it was finding it hard to dig through bone dry earth to locate grubs Photo No: REAK20100806-D003_C by Alec Kingham
With animals suffering from dehydration, and even starvation, a Leatherhead wildlife hospital has been inundated with animal patients struggling to find sustenance in the dry conditions.
Wildlife Aid's founder Simon Cowell said the animal hospital in Randalls Road had seen a massive increase in patients brought in during the summer period.
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He explained: "We are getting far more creatures in that are directly affected by the summer because of the drought we have been having."
Two of the patients that were recently brought into the hospital are a kestrel and sparrowhawk.
Mr Cowell said: "In this weather there is nothing out there for them to eat so they will go for small mice and other animals but everything is staying out of the sun.
"They have seen their parents catch food but when they do it for themselves all the conditions they were used to when they were first born aren't here anymore. So that is why they are coming in dehydrated and starving."
Another sparrowhawk, also suffering from extreme starvation, was described by Mr Cowell as having "no strength left at all".
Mammals have also suffered – particularly hedgehogs, which are starving because they are unable to get to their main food source. The drier weather has led to harder ground, making it more difficult for animals to dig deep for grubs and insects.
"Hedgehogs go for grubs which live in the ground but the grubs won't come out when it has been so bone dry," Mr Cowell said.
He added: "We have also had two baby badgers come in that were just one-eighth of the weight they should have been and they both died."
According to the charity just leaving a shallow bowl of water in the garden and changing it a few times a day will bring some relief to the parched creatures.
For further advice you can contact Wildlife Aid on 09061 800132.