Twelve baby hedgehogs are the latest arrivals at the North East Autism Society’s New Warlands Farm, on the outskirts of Durham, and our staff are pleased to report that the youngsters have settled in well.

The juvenile hogs were rehomed by Pawz for Thought, a County Durham animal rehabilitation charity which rescues and rehabilitates vulnerable wildlife.

All smiles as the hedgehogs arrive at New Warlands Farm

Pawz for Thought volunteer Simon Peer decided New Warlands would make a perfect hedgehog habitat when he visited the farm for a job interview.

The Sunderland resident said:

New Warlands has everything that a hedgehog could want. There’s lots of cover in the hedgerows, brambles, and deciduous woodland, and there’s plenty of water and food.

“Windfall apples in particular are a hedgehog delicacy. When the fruit drops and starts to ferment, the hedgehogs eat it and get a bit tipsy, so I expect they will love the orchard at New Warlands!

Mr Peer arranged for the 12 rescued hogs to be housed at New Warlands, and they quickly made themselves at home in six hedgehog houses handcrafted for them by service users in the farm's woodwork workshops.

One of the baby hogs pokes his nose out of his house

Ian Patterson, the farm’s programme manager, said:

It’s lovely to see the hedgehogs settling in so well. We know they’ve taken to the farm because they spent a few nights in our hedgehog houses, before wandering off to make their own homes around the site.

We’ve spotted them a few times during nature walks, and it’s been really nice for our service users to see them. They’re a great addition to the farm’s wildlife. We now have hedgehogs, barn owls, foxes, deer, and more living on the land.

We want to say a big thank you to Simon for his time. Seeing our service users’ faces light up when he arrived with the baby hogs was great. It was an experience they’ve never had before, and Simon deserves the credit for making that happen.

In 2017, we adopted the albino hedgehog Snowdrop the Spike Shuffler – from the children’s book of the same name – as one of our official mascots, making it very fitting that New Warlands has become home to Snowdrop's relatives.

One of the new residents with our mascot Snowdrop the Spikeshuffler

Mr Peer, whose son Rhys has Asperger’s syndrome, will be joining us as a member of staff in November, working as a Programme Support Worker and supporting our service users on the farm’s wide range of activities, including woodwork, horticulture, and textiles.

He said:

I’m really looking to joining the NEAS team. I’m looking forward to the challenge, and to meeting and working alongside some great new people.