A hedgehog rescue centre in Preston is appealing for foster families to care for the spiky creatures to help them make it through the Winter.
It follows as experts say that unprecedented numbers of hedgehogs are being brought into the centre dramatically underweight and unfit to survive hibernation.
Mark Allison of Preston Hedgehog Rescue said: “This year we have got triple the number of hedgehogs we had last year.
"Last year we had 50 hedgehogs over the winter but this year we have 150. That’s a lot.
"It’s a lot of mouths to feed and without volunteers we couldn’t do it. So we are appealing for people to come forward.
“The most important thing for us is that people have a passion for the animals.”
Explaining how fostering works Mark continued: “After a period of about three or four weeks when the hedgehogs are clear of parasites there isn’t any reason why they can’t go to foster carers as long as they are under the banner of Preston rescue.
“You can’t have a hedgehog as a pet because it’s against the Wildlife Act.
“We can check if people have the means to look after them, can we supply them with the stuff they need.”
Mark warned that any hedgehogs seen in the day should be brought into the centre as they are likely to be struggling to find food.
“Any hedgehog if it’s under 700 grams shouldn’t be out.
"It’s out in the day time because it’s struggling so it needs to come to the rescue centre.
"This time of year is bad for hedgehogs as there’s no food at all.
"If hedgehogs aren’t 750 or 800 grams by this time of year they won’t stand a chance over winter.
"A good weight for hedgehogs should be about 1200 grams going into hibernation.”
If member of the public find a hedgehog they are encouraged to place them in a high-sided box with a hot water bottle and towel covering the bottle and hedgehog.They can be fed cat biscuits which do not have fish in it and wet dog or cat which is non-fish and water. Take them to Preston Hedgehog Rescue Centre as soon as possible.
They can be dropped off at 9 Formby Place, Savick, Ashton, PR2 1UR
As well as donations of money people can give food and newspapers to the centre. To find out how to donate financially search Preston Hedgehog Rescue in Facebook.
Numbers for emergencies include Kirsty on 07590583544, Mark on 07500 338151 or Steve on 01772 700536.