Help a hedgehog appeal for Christmas

A hibernating hedgehog, one of many being looked after by the Scottish SPCA.

A hibernating hedgehog, one of many being looked after by the Scottish SPCA.

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ANIMAL welfare charity the Scottish SPCA are encouraging people to call their helpline if they find an abandoned hedgehog this year.

Their national wildlife Rescue Centre at Fishcross in Clackmannanshire is currently caring for over 50 hedgehogs, the majority of which are too small and weak to survive outside during the cold weather.

Centre Manager Colin Seddon said, “Hedgehogs should be hibernating by now but there will be some out there who won’t survive without help.

“We would be particularly concerned for a hedgehog seen outside during the day and would urge anyone who finds one to call us.

“Most of the hedgehogs in our care haven’t been able to store up the necessary body fat to go into hibernation or are from late litters. Many were half their ideal weight when they were rescued.

“Hedgehogs will be out foraging for food such as earthworms, beetles, slugs, snails, insects, fruit and carrion but they’ll be finding it very difficult at this time of year.

“Anyone trying to contain a hedgehog should pick it up using gardening gloves or a thick towel and place it in a secure box. It can then be left with fresh water and tinned cat food, ideally chicken flavoured, until we arrive.

“Our rescued hedgehogs will be released once they have reached a suitable weight of over 600g and the weather has warmed up to a consistent night time temperature of over four degrees centigrade.”

Anyone who finds a hedgehog this winter is being asked to call the Scottish SPCA Animal Helpline on 03000 999 999.