Can you help? Norfolk animal hospital inundated with hundreds of sick hedgehogs
- Credit: Archant
Animal lovers are struggling to cope with a flood of poorly hedgehogs.
Some 250 underweight 'hogs are being cared for at the RSPCA's East Winch Wildlife Centre, near King's Lynn.
They're among 500 which have found their way to the society's animal hospitals around the country.
RSPCA scientific information officer Llewelyn Lowen said: 'Every day, more and more sick hedgehogs are being admitted to our wildlife centres.
'There are now nearly 500 of them, and the centres are close to running out of food and bedding. It's a particularly prickly problem.
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'Hedgehogs need plenty of fat reserves to see them through the winter because they hibernate. So any that are not up to a good size now are a concern as they're in danger of not making it through the winter.' Most of the hedgehogs which have been admitted to the RSPCA's centres are severely underweight and need to be built up before they can be released.
But it can sometimes be difficult to tell if a hedgehog is struggling. And as a result, from time to time, perfectly healthy hedgehogs are brought into wildlife centres by well-meaning members of the public.
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The RSPCA's rule of thumb is that if a hedgehog is very obviously in danger, sick or injured, or under 300g, it should definitely be admitted.
If the hog weighs 300-500g between mid October and the end of February, it can be housed as naturally as possible indoors.
Hedgehogs usually hibernate between November and mid March and animals must have enough fat reserves to survive hibernation. Making hedgehog homes in the garden and providing food will help them.
With so many hedgehogs to care for, the centres are experiencing shortages of everything they need to look after the little creatures properly.
Llewelyn continued: 'There's been a real run on our supplies. So whether it's shredded paper or newspaper for their bedding or special food from their Amazon wish lists, our centres would be so grateful for any donations.'
The RSPCA at East Winch is appealing for old newspapers and dog food to be dropped off at the centre.
For its wish list, click here.