A RESCUE centre set up to help support hedgehogs in the area is expanding after an influx of orphaned animals.

Pickering Hedgehog Rescue was started by local resident Deryn Hagemann in September 2017.

It all started with the discovery of an injured hedgehog in her garden and a trip to the vets, before she learnt just how much help these endangered animals needed.

After completing several hedgehog carer’s course, an appeal was made on Facebook to see if anyone could donate cages or supplies for the new rescue centre.

Within 24 hours there were three patients. Since then a small but dedicated group of volunteers have been working constantly with a steady flow of patients.

Louise Mudd, one of the volunteers, said: “With the warm weather and longer days, the Pickering Hedgehog Rescue is getting lots of hoglets brought, who are struggling with the hard ground and lack of water, or have lost their mother through accidents or disturbed nests.

“Speed is essential if these babies are to have a chance – fly strike is a killer and eggs can hatch within four hours.

“One of our supporters very kindly bought us a suction machine to help with fly strike removal and it has been invaluable and well used.

“We currently have 15 hoglets all weighing under 200g, as well as another 18 in need of medical care and weight gain.

“We also got a call from a supporter who had been told of a mother hedgehog who had made a nest inside a local school and given birth to three babies in among a pile of lost and unclaimed school jumpers.

“She arrived with her babies down one sleeve and her down the other.

“It is important to seek advise before moving nests as mothers often kill their young if disturbed.”

Louise said with so much demand space has become a real problem.

“We have started to build a new hospital wing. The works done so far have been funded by the group, but we have launched a GoFundMe page to try to raise the funds needed,” she said.

“The new extension will allow us to create a huge incubation room to ensure the hoglets and those who are seriously ill, are kept at a constant temperature.

“We have only one specialist incubator so far which means we can only have a couple of babies in there at a time. We would love to not have to choose.”

Louise added: “With so many mouths to feed we are still appealing for food - cat or dog wet food or small kitten biscuits, as well as the usual wipes and disinfectant.”

For more information and how to help, go to pickeringhedgehogrescue.btck.co.uk, visit their Facebook page or email PickeringHR@hotmail.com