AN ANIMAL lover reckons she hit on the ideal starter home for rescued hedgehogs – used wine boxes.
Patients at the Forth Hedgehog Hospital in Fife have been making themselves at home in discarded boxes of Chardonnay and Blossom Hill.
Nadia Al Dajaili, who runs the sanctuary, says they make perfect nests as they already have a “front door”.
And now she is encouraging Scots to drink more in the name of hedgehog conservation.
Nadia, 31, runs the Rosyth-based charity on her own and first came up with the wine box idea during a trip to the shops.
She said: “I was just doing the shopping at the local Sainsbury’s and the wine boxes were just there at the front door…so I took them.
“They’re really good. They already have a wee front door cut out in the front of them so they are exactly what the hedgehogs need.
“It gives them a secure area like what they would have in the wild. They use newspaper and hay to stuff the boxes to keep themselves warm.”
Nadia said her 20 hogs are quite house proud and like to keep their digs in top condition.
“They keep them clean,” she said. “The boxes are inside a cage so they leave the box to pee or poo in the corner of the cage.
“Its making my job a lot easier and it’s more hygienic for them.”
A recent stroke of luck means that Nadia is now expecting a huge donation of wine boxes for her prickly patients.
Earlier this week, she received a phone call from a couple based in St Andrews who had found a hedgehog trying to crawl inside for warmth.
Luckily for Nadia the pair run a wine shop, and are currently arranging for the hog, along with dozens of wine boxes, to be transported to Fife.
The charity was set up to look after injured or orphaned hedgehogs.
Baby hedgehogs, also known as ‘hoglets’, often get lost when their mother takes them out of the nest for the first time to look for food.
Nadia said she tries to limit herself to looking after 20 hedgehogs at a time but admits that she often breaks that limit, saying “it’s difficult when you love them so much”.