An animal charity near Wellingboro has appealed for help to feed the unprecedented number of hedgehogs in their care.
The staff at Animals In Need in Little Irchester currently care for 170 hedgehogs that make their way through about 40 cans of dog and cat food per day.
With more stricken hedgehogs arriving each day, the charity has requested food donations to collect the creatures at the shelter.
Lizzie Collins, director of wildlife at the complex, said: “We currently have about 170 hedgehogs that spend the winter with us and that number is rising daily.
“People can help us by buying packets of cat or dog food, whether it’s a pie or a loaf or something in jelly – but not fish or with broth.
“Hedgehogs are mostly tiny babies. They come in the cold, wet stone. Many of them have parasites and worms. Without us they would die and are now in danger.”
Lizzie estimated that getting the hedgehogs until spring would cost around £7,500 for food alone, with additional medication and bedding costs.
“It’s crazy,” she said. “I’ve worked here for ten years and hedgehog rescues are at their maximum. They wouldn’t have a chance without us. They should weigh over 600g – 180g to 200g.”
“Because of climate change, we are getting warmer and longer summers. Hedgehogs have other litter, so they breed very late and cannot survive.
“The decline of the hedgehog is due to the loss of habitat and the way we cultivate the land.
“We can all do things to help – cut a hole in your fence for a highway for the hedgehog, provide a shallow dish of water on the ground, leave some tree stumps to provide shelter or food for them.
“We get about 40 cans of dog/cat food a day so people can donate by dropping the food off at the gate in our green donation box — and putting a label on it to say this is where they want to go — or have an Amazon Wish List. ”
Donations can be made at Animals In Need, Pine Tree Farm, London Road, Little Irchester, Northamptonshire and NN8 2EH, any day between 8am and 4pm.
Animals in Need is a volunteer organization dedicated to saving sick, wounded, trapped and distressed wild and domestic animals. They provide veterinary treatment when necessary, and care for and rehabilitate the animals until they can be released or resettled.