Curled up into a ball in a vain attempt to save itself from the cold, this hedgehog was about to die of starvation when it was rescued from a prickly situation. However, it is one of the fortunate ones – because colder weather and lack of food is killing hedgehogs, causing their numbers to drop fast. Around a million of the animals are left, experts say – because thousands are dying in less than few weeks of being born. Wildlife groups are urging people to come to the aid of any troubled hedgehogs by keeping them warm and phoning for help.
With Winter approaching hedgehogs tend to give birth to a litter of babies. Hoglets are barely seven weeks old when they leave their mothers. The tiny hedgehog babies are often seen “scrounging for food” beneath bird tables. More fences in the country’s gardens has led to collapse of the animals’ traditional feeding grounds – they struggle to stock enough food to hibernate through the coldest months.
In the 1950s the population of hedgehogs in Britain was 30million, however, as per recent studies today only a million are left, the British Hedgehog Preservation Society said. The Society has urged people to help hedgehogs’ look for food by making gaps in their garden boundaries that are large enough for a hedgehog to pass through.
In North Yorkshire, Annette Pyrah, of Selby Wildlife Rescue, North Yorkshire, has pleaded anyone who spots a hedgehog to pick it up, keep it warm and contact an animal rescue group. She said: ‘Hedgehogs seen out in daylight are often cold, hungry, ill or a combination of all three.