Monday, July 24, 2006

I hate flies

Warning - don't click the picture if you're squeamish.

Only a few night after finally going free, Basil (one of my rescued hedgehogs) turned up again last night.

He's got a huge graze on his head which looks very sore and he's covered in small ticks, maybe a hundred of them. I don't kow how he got injured, but judging by the state of the wound I'd guess it was early yesterday morning.

The most horrible thing is that he also had a load of fly eggs in the wound. Another few days and the maggots would have been literally eating him alive. The first hog I picked up had a very bad infection and maggots crawling in its ears, a sight that I'll never forget. What a horrible way to die.

So I spent over an hour removing all the eggs, which is a very ticklish job - trying to get every single tiny egg out of a very sore place on an animal full of prickles which curls up when it's scared or in pain. It's just lucky that Basil's used to us and only curled up a bit when I hurt him, poor guy. If it had been a wild hog, with a wound on the head, it would have been practically impossible. I used a combination of an old toothbrush, a pair of tweezers and cotton wool soaked in salt water. He was so good about it, even though I was obviously hurting him.

I've left the ticks for now, I didn't want to stress him any more, and there are so many that I'm just going to cover him in vegetable oil tonight to suffocate them rather than trying to remove them all manually. I'll add lavender, rosemary and tea tree oils too for their antiseptic and insect repellant properties, and to soothe the wound. The lavender will help with the pain and stress too. I like to use natural/herbal medicines wherever possible.

He's in the spare room now, in a cage with a heat pad (which he isn't using), and I've draped sheet over the cage so flies can't get in. I checked on him a little while ago and he's sleeping and the wound's starting to scab over now, thank goodness. I'm obviously going to keep a very close eye on him and if he gets an infection he's going straight to the vet. He didn't eat last night so I'll give him a few days and hand feed him again if necessary.

I've now come to the conclusion that he's too tame to live in the wild once he's better. He made no attempt to curl up when Summer found him (which could possibly be because it hurt him to do so) and he wouldn't be safe out there. He's had to be handled too much with being ill and hand feeding and ringworm treatment and everything, he's used to humans now and not so scared of dogs.

Oh and thanks to Boo for talking to me last night after I'd cleaned him up, sorry I didn't realise you'd gone to bed until later on, I didn't mean to keep you up! Brain not in gear.

I can't describe how much I hate flies. The ticks are bad enough, but at least they don't kill the hog. I have to make an effort not to think about maggots - I've had dreams about having maggots under my skin - there can be few more horrible things than being eaten by maggots while you're still alive. I know some of you hate slugs, and quite a few hate spiders (enough to kill them on sight in some cases) and I can't stand wasps (ugly, evil, pointless things), but flies are so much worse. Yeuch doesn't even begin to cover it. The idea actually makes me feel physically sick.


  1. Anna, You are an Angel of Mercy. That is so wonderful of you to help out this poor, wounded, infected little thing. I hope he feels better.

    And yes, the thought of flies and maggots is even worse than thinking of the huge, bird-size cockroaches we have here in South Florida.

  2. Thank you, very sweet of you to say that.

    I don't think of it as anything special really though. I picked Basil up in October and kept him indoors so I could feed him up a bit as he was too small to survive hibernation. It turned out he was sick and needed antibiotics and I had to hand feed him for weeks as he wouldn't eat by himself. Then he got ringworm and mites and lost a lot of fur and I had to treat him for that. Of couse I'm going to help him again now he's injured, poor mite. And I'd do the same for any other hog too.

    I think once you get to learn a little about hogs and watch them (like we do on the webcams on Yahoo) you fall in love with the creatures, they are so cute and endearing. And they're on the decline and certainly need our help. Bless them. Life's mean to hogs.

    You've just almost put me off going to Florida, lol!

  3. Please don't be put off, it's really beautiful here. Just bring a huge can of RAID.

    And you are a sweetie for taking care of him, not a lot of people like you left.

  4. It's on my list of places I want to visit when I have some spare cash. Looks beautiful and I want to see the birds and alligators and manatees. Judging my my finances I'll probably get there when I'm 60, and the manatees will be extinct.

    You're right about people, so many people just don't care about anything other than themselves. But there are quite a lot of us who care for hogs and other animals and many more who donate money even if they can't physically help. I know I don't think of myself as special, but maybe I am because other people who do the same things most definitely are. Did that make sense? It did in my head.