Hi Hedgie Lover
Glad to hear you have Calvin back.
Re. Saphire. Hogs do need to drink water, but it may be, at this time of the year, that she has been able to find water elsewhere. I would keep supplying water, though, in case any alterntive water source dries up or becomes inaccessible.
I’m not sure why the rescue would say Sweetpea, now weighing 600g can’t be released until late April. I suggest you draw their attention to: https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/guidance-on-releasing-rehabilitated-hedgehogs/ and make sure that they have the information contained in this paper: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10344-018-1244-4
This is a copy of the conclusion:
In conclusion, this study is the first to compare overwinter survival and behaviour of wild and rehabilitated hedgehogs and demonstrate that rehabilitated hedgehogs survive well if released in winter and exhibit natural behaviours of nest building, while changes in weight are similar to wild counterparts. Based on these findings, we recommend that wildlife rehabilitators can release rehabilitated hedgehogs during winter if the criteria used for release are similar to those used in this study. That is, hedgehogs should weigh over 600 g, have passed a veterinary health check, are soft-released in areas where the individuals were originally found or suburban areas without main roads and badgers, and during periods of mild weather (> 0 °C) over winter. Following these guidelines will reduce the periods of captivity for rehabilitated hedgehogs and allow them to reintegrate into their natural habitats as soon as possible, improving their welfare, whilst reducing the costs of care for the wildlife rehabilitators.”