Dick and Dom encourage children to volunteer at veterinary clinics, wildlife sanctuaries and animal rescue centres. Volunteers Quasim and Haroon help hundreds of smelly hedgehogs.
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Listen! This programme features highly-trained professionals
working with potentially dangerous and unpredictable animals.
So do not, we repeat, do not try this at home.
Did you know that now, right now, there's people
all around the country who are working their socks off to help
wounded wildlife and poorly pets?
We managed to get VIP passes for willing helpers,
who are going to get stuck in
at the busiest vets, wildlife sanctuaries and rescue centres.
On today's show: Qasim and Haroon get stuck into hundreds
of pongy poorly hedgehogs and release a deer into a secret wood.
I think it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
And I'll never get this again.
Intisar and Shannon play snakes and ladders in Wareham Forest,
when they try to add up adders and un-box bats.
There we are.
And we're playing chicken with Henrietta the hen,
as Jason does his very best to turn us into vet nurses.
It talked to us, it said it's happy.
It's tough and dirty work.
-Get in. Come on.
-But someone's got to do it.
This is Tiggywinkles, and I'm told
it's the biggest wildlife hospital in the world. Let's find out.
Tiggywinkles treats over 10,000 animal casualties every single year.
Founder Les Stocker has spent most of his life helping wildlife,
and even lives at the hospital so he can be on hand around the clock.
Sounds like he could do with a little bit of help.
Meet Qasim and Haroon from Luton.
These two cricket-crazy mates love animals,
so long as they are big and scary and dangerous.
Lions are my favourite animals, lions and tigers. Because they kill.
I like fierce animals like lions and tigers.
They're not scared of nothing.
There's no avoiding it, both think animals that live in our countryside
are a bit, well, a bit ropey.
It's just boring.
So, can we convince these chaps that wildlife is a knockout?
One of the busiest wildlife hospitals might just do the trick.
Here they come. Hello, Haroon.
How you doing, Qasim? Welcome to Tiggywinkles.
-Now, you guys aren't mad keen on British wildlife.
-We hate it.
-You hate it?
-OK, meet, Les, he'll be looking after you for today.
-You have a challenge today, you have to prove to these guys
that British wildlife rocks. Do you think you can do that?
I reckon so. I think we should get cracking straight away.
So I think you ought to put these on, first off.
I'm not happy.
-We look like a couple of clowns.
What's first? It is the tigers, the lions or the hippos?
I think it's going to be the hedgehogs first. I must warn you,
it absolutely stinks, and I mean stinks.
This place specialises in patching up hurt hedgehogs.
They even got their own private hospital ward. Today they have
over 200 patients needing our help.
And yes, it really pongs.
That's a strong old smell. Francesca, you all right?
Don't be scared.
-What have you got planned for them?
-We're in the hedgehog room today.
So we are just going to see what injuries they've got, weigh them,
-and give them food and water.
-Are you enjoying the smell?
-Does it smell worse than your bedroom?
-Can you say anything else apart from that?
Most of these hogs are in recovery after being orphaned or injured.
That's why as well as medical attention, they need their breakfast
to help them recover.
What we feed them is dog food, cat food. It's a bit smelly.
And then some vitamins, because they are poorly.
I'm just giving them that extra vitamin to help them along.
-Keep them strong.
-That's their food and water.
Do you want to make some up?
-Obviously hedgehogs don't usually eat dog food, quite possibly
because they can't use tin openers.
Give it a bit of a squish.
No, in the wild, they are far more likely to nibble on worms,
beetles and even slugs and snails.
Sniffing food, the hedgehogs spring into life.
Well, they wake up, anyway.
What do you think, chaps?
I've learnt that hedgehogs like to sleep a lot.
So, Britain's only spiny mammal has not completely won them over - yet!
It is hog emergency later,
as Haroon and Qasim rush Clark into the operating theatre.
Will they cope with a prickly situation?
First we whoosh over to Wareham, and Dick in a forest of creepy critters.
I'm at Wareham Forest in Dorset,
where today we're hunting for the scarier side of Britain's beasties.
Luckily, I've got two strong girls to hide behind.
This is Intisar and Shannon,
who put themselves forward for a crash course on British wildlife.
Now, these two aren't that impressed by slithery snakes.
They are slimy, scaly and horrible to think of and they bite.
It's bats that Shannon's not batty about.
It's just the high-pitched noise and you can feel them going past you.
-So it's going to take a very special place
to get these girls falling in love with wildlife.
Let's see what we can do.
Wareham Forest in Dorset is spread across a huge 3,000 acres,
and is positively packed with all sorts of wildlife.
Ranger Mark Warne is part of the team that protects them.
And our girls have bagged themselves VIP passes to join him.
-How are you doing?
-Intisar and Shannon.
Do you want to tell the ladies what kind of wildlife you have in here?
We've all sorts - we've got deer,
rabbits, butterflies, a whole variety of different species.
I was thinking about ones the girls will really like.
You'll see all six British reptiles. We've got them all in this forest.
-Do you like snakes?
We'll see snakes, and the other thing we'll look for today is bats,
which live in boxes in the daytime.
-Look at the face drop there.
-You'll love them by the end of today.
Let's go and find some snakes.
'It may not be a jungle,
'but this place is absolutely rammed full of reptiles.
'First up, the girls need to help Mark complete a head count
'of the snake and lizard species here.
'Some are mega rare and he needs
'to know how many he's looking after. Time to track them down.'
Snakes use their brilliant camouflage to hide from danger.
It's almost impossible to see them in long grass.
If you step on one by mistake, it could bite.
So it's big, protective boots for us all.
-Intisar's found something.
It's a bush. It's got me! Quick.
The most dangerous thing we've seen all day!
Next, we go for a more targeted approach and head for snake shelters
Mark has placed around the forest floor.
Snakes are cold-blooded animals, and the tin sheets absorb warmth
from the sun and help re-charge their batteries,
so they're easier to find.
Is that one there?
It's not a snake, but there is a tin, so we can have a look.
Lift it up carefully and see if there's one underneath, OK?
-Here we go.
-There's no-one home!
On to the next snake shelter, girls.
No luck so far, but there's tons more tin to turn over.
So will the girls get the chance to see a great British snake?
Qasim and Haroon are into their first hedgehog helping shift
at the wildlife hospital.
They've done breakfast, now time to deal with the more needy patients.
Hedgehogs have between 5,000 and 7,000 spines
that help protect them from predators.
First, the boys need to learn how to carefully handle them.
If you pick them up, will they, will the spines hurt?
It may do a little bit. I'll show you how to hold them so it won't hurt.
Do they have lots of parasites and fleas?
Sometimes they do have fleas, but they will only live on hedgehogs.
If they come off, they will die. Do you want to have a go, then?
Pick one up and pop him on the scales.
Are you going to do that one?
That's it. What they do, as soon as you scoop them, pick them up,
-they should curl into a ball. Got him?
-Yeah. It feels all right.
It feels actually pretty nice when they vibrate and stuff.
There you go.
A little bit spiky?
-I like this.
Not that, not as bad as I thought.
No, seriously, weigh hedgehogs.
694 grams. That's a really good size for a hedgehog.
The boys are handling this job well.
Just pop him in.
-Why is it important to keep an eye on their weight?
-We like to know.
If they are losing the weight,
we like to know why they're not eating, that could be a problem.
This one had an injury to its leg.
It's actually due for an operation today. You can see the poorly leg.
What I thought you guys could do -
you could take it down to the vet's for us, because you are so good
-at handling the hedgehogs now. Are you going to take him?
-There we go.
-OK, chaps, it's time to operate.
There's live-saving surgery for this seriously ill patient later.
-Will the boys still be able to handle it?
-It's a great opportunity
to see what hedgehogs are about. From now on, I like hedgehogs.
Intisar and Shannon are on a reptile safari in Dorset.
They're helping wildlife ranger Mark Warne search for all six
of the reptiles that live in Britain.
But so far they have not uncovered anything. Then...
There's an adder.
Can you see the adder?
Oh, Britain's only venomous snake! Mark does not pick it up -
"venomous" means its bite is dangerous.
Didn't give us a lot of time, but did you see how beautiful she was?
-How did you feel about that?
-Keep the voice down.
-I like the patterns on it.
-Your voice! It'll run away!
-(I liked the patterns on it.
-(On its back.
(You're not scared now, even though it is venomous?
(I don't want to go close to it.
-(But this distance is OK?
And we're off. There's still loads more snake shelters to check.
-It's a slow worm.
Remember, Mark is a trained warden and it's a very bad idea to try
and pick up any sort of wild animal.
-It's a slow worm.
-Does it bite?
-No, it's not going to bite you.
Believe it or not it's a lizard - it's a lizard without legs.
One of the things that tells us it is a lizard and not a snake -
if you look at the eye, occasionally, it will blink. It has an eyelid.
Snakes haven't got eyelids.
So, it's our only legless lizard.
Do you want to hold it? Nice and gently.
-There you go.
Yes! So Shannon's holding a legless lizard. Now what about Intisar,
who started off thinking reptiles were really repulsive?
Not scared of snakes now?
A right start to the girls' reptile safari, this, adders and slow worms.
And next Shannon and Intisar
-close in on a pocket-sized night-time hunter.
But first, we get stuck into a chicken leg at the vet's.
Mmm, chicken sandwich.
-What are you doing?
-Just having me lunch.
-Don't be so insensitive!
-You know that chicken in there could be related to that?
-Henrietta broke her leg when she was accidentally hit
by a flying piece of wood during a garden clearout.
-Let's whip it off.
-The bandage that is, not the leg.
This is the face of an excited chicken.
It can't wait to walk on its leg.
There we are.
What we do first of all is check it for stability.
I bet Jason's relieved to have our expertise at hand!
Jason, is that the X-ray of the leg?
-I think you'll find that's a jaw of a dog.
-Right. It's similar.
-The treatment's coming on. At least you recognised it's an animal.
-And how is it?
-It's lovely and stable.
Can the chicken cross the road?
Or the surgery floor, at least?!
Just put it down.
No, no, no.
Yes! It's walking.
After a slow start, she's off.
With the odd wobble, admittedly.
It talked to us, it said it's happy.
How do you feel about all of this?
I'm in a foul mood. I want to go back to me mum and dad. Right!
So we'll take it back to the owners.
And waiting for their takeaway chicken is owner Holly and mum.
There is a chicken in this box. No ordinary chicken, Holly,
but this is your chicken.
Are you ready? And he's on two legs.
Holly, don't throw no more wood at me!
Yeah? Off you go.
Two more satisfied Dick and Dom Go Wild customers.
Here's your chicken in a box.
Bye bye, chicken. Isn't that nice?
What a happy ending, that chicken now with a healthy, happy home to go to.
-How do you feel now?
Intisar and Shannon have turned wildlife rangers in Wareham Forest.
They have helped locate snakes, now it's time to tackle the ladders.
Bat boxes can only mean one thing - yes, bats. The girls' next job
is to help Mark complete a head count of the bats that live here.
Right, I'm going up the ladder to see if we can find any bats in here.
-So Shannon, are you happy to see them?
No? Why aren't you happy?
-They've got fangs and they'll bite you.
You'll be all right. Wait and see.
The girls have already handled reptiles like experts
and now they're stood by for bats.
OK, guys, there's nothing in these, so we'll look at the next one.
The bats use Mark's boxes as temporary homes.
This is a protected area, so the bats can hang out here safely.
A tiny little pipistrelle bat.
We have got one here.
I'm going to bring the bat down and record the details now. OK?
There we are. Aren't they fantastic?
-How do you feel about that, Shannon?
-I'm not too scared any more.
There are no big fangs, are there?
-Really endearing little creatures.
-The bats are fitted with rings,
so Mark and our rangers can identify them and make sure they are healthy.
What's the bat's species?
It's a pipistrelle. So it's Britain's smallest bat.
-They consume thousands and thousands of insects a night.
-Can it bite you?
It is trying to bite me, but it doesn't hurt that much.
Definitely not one for you lot to think about trying!
The one thing you must remember
though is that bats can carry the rabies virus.
So we have to be careful and you have to be inoculated against that.
Which I am, as a licensed handler.
Why are the eyes so small?
Well, they don't need their eyes as much as other creatures, because
they predominantly come out at dusk and they are hunting at night.
They can see, but they don't need it as much.
They have "echo-location", which is a bit like radar,
so it allows them to pick up objects and particularly prey,
flying insects they are trying to catch,
without the need of eyesight.
Shannon looks like she's well beyond being bothered by bats now.
Solid team work, girls.
And all that careful work with cool creepy critters will be rewarded.
Don't you worry about that.
We're very, very lucky here.
We have another two of the six British reptiles here.
Qasim and Haroon are helping out
at one of the busiest wildlife hospitals in the world.
Time to help nurse a prickly pal called Clark to full health.
Clark arrived here one month ago.
He was found in a garden with a nasty leg injury.
Hey guys, this is Vicky, our vet.
Hi there, I am going to be doing the operation. What have you got today?
She has trouble with her leg.
A bad leg. That looks nasty.
I think that's the bone sticking out there from his ankle.
We're not be able to save this leg,
because his bone is sticking out and there's a horrible infection.
We'll have to do an operation to cut his leg off.
We're going to amputate his leg. We get quite a lot like this.
Quite often they've had their foot caught in fencing, or netting,
and they've come across a strimmer and it does this awful damage
so we have to do an operation to cut their leg off.
-Can he die?
-There is slight risk with any operation,
but most come through fine and we'll do our best to get him through.
The first thing we'll do is give the hedgehog an anaesthetic.
So it goes off to sleep and doesn't feel the pain of the operation.
We do this with this little mask here. Put it on his face,
before we switch it on. You need to hold it over there.
The gas used to knock out this little fella is pretty potent stuff.
We don't want them falling asleep on the operating floor,
so they watch Vicky through a window as she anaesthetizes Clark.
When the gas has kicked in, Vicky can start operating.
It is a procedure that requires
concentration and a lot of skill.
It's basically just a case of cutting through all the tissue,
all the muscles. And then eventually crunching our way through the bone.
These are the bone-crunchers, they will munch through the bone
and then the leg will be off.
So, he's doing OK. Heart rate is fine.
Breathing is nice and steady, so there's no worries at the moment.
In no time at all, the operation is over.
That's the last stitch. We're all done now.
The gas is off, so we'll get the boys back in now, shall we? Boys!
-How did it go?
-It went really well.
Shall we take the drape off and have a look? Here we go.
-So you can see, he's already awake.
There's just a little line of stitches now to that mangled leg
we had before. He'll be fine. You can see he's awake.
Will he become accustomed to having three legs, and get used to it?
Yeah, they cope really well. He'll be fine.
We'll watch it here until we're happy that it's going to cope.
-So it's better that it's off?
-Much better. It would have killed him,
eventually, if we had left it on. So he's much better without it.
-So you've done something good.
It's not even needing any help to learn to walk on three legs!
-How did you find the boys, were they a good help?
-They were brilliant.
Really good helpers. They weren't squeamish. They did a great job.
And how did you boys find it?
It's been a great opportunity to see what hedgehogs are really about.
-From now on, I like hedgehogs.
-An amazing turnaround from you guys,
walking in here a couple of hours ago, not having any interest at all.
Suddenly you seem genuinely interested in what you are doing.
-Shall we do some more?
-Yeah, much more.
Great! Come on, boys. Let's do more.
Let's do more indeed.
The boys get an extra special bonus later when they return
a muntjac deer to the wild.
Three, two, one...
But first, a little animal help from us two.
You've done so well recently that I decided to give you a treat.
Lovely! Am I having my nails done?
No. He is.
This is Turtletook - he is a pet ferret and needs his claws trimming.
Aren't they a bit bitey?
Oh no, no, no, no... Well, yes.
-They like to eat rabbits, chicks, and big fat sausage-like fingers.
But I've got big fat sausage-like fingers.
Yes, exactly, which is why you shouldn't be cutting the claws,
and Dave, the qualified veterinary surgeon, should be. You can help.
There we are. That's one hand done.
-Ah! Is that razor sharp?
-And that one.
-Is that it?
Dusted! There you are, see?
-Lovely. Thank you.
-Thank you, well held!
So that's sorted. Now, your turn.
Wannabe wildlife rangers Shannon and Intisar are on a race against time
in Wareham Forest. Their mission is to see how many British reptiles
they can find in just one day.
Right, let's look under this one, shall we?
Oh, look at this!
Woah! That's three smooth snakes and a grass snake.
We are really lucky. Another two of the six British reptiles here.
You see the one with the yellow on it? That's a grass snake.
-You'll find those in your garden.
-None of them bite,
-They sometimes nip, but it doesn't hurt.
Remember, the girls are working with an expert who has permission
to handle these creatures.
Some snakes are dangerous, so best to steer clear all together.
-What is that smell?
-That's the grass snake.
They actually do a poo as a defence mechanism.
And it absolutely stinks, doesn't it?
Cover yourself in poo to stop other animals eating you?
I bet that works!
The smooth snakes are the ones we'll record.
You've got the notebook there. We'll take the details of these.
We'll put the grass snake down, but we'll record the head patterns
on the smooth snakes.
If you look at the snake,
can you see these black markings?
They are different from the other two we were looking at.
It is like a fingerprint, so you can tell individual snakes by that.
It is up to Shannon to record this smooth snake's unique markings.
This will help Britain's rarest reptile in the future
and check this out for a finish as we wrap things up for a day,
the girls encounter a really rare lizard.
You see on top of the bank?
It's a sand lizard.
It's just coming out here. That was born within the last few weeks.
-Don't get that in Scunthorpe, do you?
-What an experience!
Intisar and Shannon have discovered five British reptiles,
including the rarest lizard and the rarest snake, all in the same day.
Back in Buckinghamshire, Qasim and Haroon are won over by wildlife.
I'm about to introduce the boys to one of my absolute favourites.
Hi, Jackie. You all right?
Who's this in here?
This is Bourneville. I've just brought her in for a check-up.
Bourneville here is a fallow -
one of six species of deer that can be found living wild in Britain.
She was rescued after getting her foot caught in a wire fence.
Now she is being looked after by Jackie
until she is ready for release.
-She's doing well?
She's fine. She's doing great. She's really nice. She's beautiful.
How old is she?
About three weeks old now.
-Have you seen a deer this close before?
-Nice seeing a baby one.
-I've never even seen a deer.
But the close-up experience is going to get so much better.
Now you can see a baby deer up close, one being rubbish,
ten being amazing, what would you give this?
I'd give it ten.
I'd give it nine-and-a-half.
You give nine and a half? I reckon we need to change
this nine-and-a-half, we need to show you something better.
Bourneville is still months away from release,
but at a mystery location, not far from here,
there is another older deer that is ready to go back to the wild.
OK, it's really exciting. We're five miles away from Tiggy's,
and we're going to release a muntjac deer into the wild.
Haroon and Qasim are helping Sharon over here.
Let's have a look.
This is a very exciting moment - back to the wild.
-How long have you had this muntjac for?
-We had him since Christmas.
He was an orphan, so he has been reared by one of our fosterers.
-He's got to go back to where's come from.
-You actually found him here?
Yes, muntjac have to go back by law to where they come from.
OK. Right. And boys, this is a very rare opportunity for guys your age,
or for anyone, for that matter, to do something like this.
-Are you excited?
-I am feeling great.
I think it's a once in a lifetime opportunity.
I'll never get this moment again. It's the best moment of my life.
We are releasing a deer, as you said, not many people
get a chance to do something like this and we're lucky to do this.
What we'll do is move him down here and we've got a clear runway.
-We'll open up the hatch and off he runs.
-Will he know what to do?
He'll be absolutely fine. He's been in our paddocks for a few months,
so he's absolutely wild and fine.
One final question I think we should ask - what's his name?
-He hasn't got one, because he's going back to the wild.
OK, do you want to give him a name?
-Dom! OK, Dom the deer.
Dear old Dom! OK, let's do this. Come on then, boys.
'Muntjac are the smallest breed of deer in the UK.
'This chap was found without his mum, right here in these woods,
'ten months ago. Time to return home.'
-Just pop it down.
-Three, two, one. Go!
And in the blink of an eye, Dom the deer is set free.
Qasim and Haroon, our lads from Luton, started the day
with little experience of wildlife, but it's a different story now.
There you go, boys - you actually did it yourselves,
you lifted the hatch and released a deer back to the wild. How was that?
-It was great!
-I loved every moment of it.
-Have you had a good day in total?
-Has it been an interesting experience?
-The day's been great.
I've learnt so many new things from the beginning till the end.
When you first turned up,
you were like, "I don't care about British wildlife, not my thing."
-Now, by the end of it...
-If you get to see a lot, you start liking it.
Lovely to work with you, boys. Nice job, well done.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media
E-mail [email protected]
The boys get their hands on backstage passes for some willing helpers to get stuck in at the country's busiest veterinary clinics, wildlife sanctuaries and animal rescue centres. Their volunteers are up for a massive challenge but they are not all big animal lovers. Will a day on the frontline looking after wounded wildlife and poorly pets change their minds?
Volunteers Quasim and Haroon are in at the deep end as they help hundreds of pongy hedgehogs, assist in a life-saving operation and release a deer in a secret wood. Meanwhile, Intisar and Shannon go on safari to help Britain's bats and track down five of the UK's native reptiles. Plus, Dick and Dom play chicken with Henrietta the Hen as they try to become assistant vets.