WITH Spring just around the corner, hedgehogs are now being spotted in the York area.

Sadly many of them emerge from hibernation in a very poor condition. With their fat reserves depleted, they will have lost weight and be eager to find food and water. Dried food such as kitten biscuits and plain water should be offered but never give them milk. Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant and milk can make them extremely ill.

Hedgehogs are nocturnal creatures and if seen out in daytime, looking weak and wobbly, they are very ill indeed.

With their spikey exterior, it’s difficult to imagine that hedgehogs are really quite fragile and only swift action can save a poorly hedgehog. Wearing gloves, catch the hedgehog, keep it warm with a hot water bottle and seek help immediately.

The British Hedgehog Preservation Society, local vets or a wildlife rescue should be contacted. However, all injured wildlife should be taken directly to a vet.

Time is of the essence when dealing with a poorly hedgehog. However, this delightful little mammal is in such sharp decline that it really deserves our help. Habitat loss, poisons, pesticides, increased traffic and development all contribute to the demise of this nocturnal little creature.

Please ring us on 07711 883072 or visit our website www.wildlifeorphans.co.uk for more information about how you can help the nation’s best loved little mammal - the hedgehog.

Annette Pyrah, The Wildlife Orphanage, Low Mill, York Road, Barlby