Steve Whalley has a prickly problem - finding foster homes for young hedgehogs under threat from an icy winter.
The man who operates Preston Hedgehog Rescue has run out of space at his home in Fulwood as a record number of strays are being handed in.
“I can’t turn them away because they won’t survive the cold weather,” said Steve. “But we’re full up and we need volunteers to give them a nice warm home for the winter.”
Hedgehogs are amongst the top 10 most endangered species after a rapid decline in numbers. But an Indian summer in Britain this year meant some mothers gave birth to a second litter and these kittens are at risk from the big chill.
“These young ones weigh between 250 and 400 grammes and they need to be a minimum of 750 to 1,000,” explained Steve. “The mums have kept with the babies as long as they can because the weather has been quite warm until late this year. But now it has dropped below zero and it is lethal for the young ones.”
The rescue centre in Fulwood Hall Lane has a full house of 40 hedgehogs, yet more are arriving by the day. Steve has managed to get some fostered, but he needs more people to come forward.
He added: “Most are underweight and need keeping in a warm building and feeding every day. Last year between 20 and 30 didn’t make it due to pneumonia. We’d love to hear from people who can offer them somewhere warm, like an integral garage, where it isn’t freezing. They are very similar to a rabbit to look after. I already have quite a few being fostered out at the moment, but I’m desperate for others to come forward.”
If you can help give a hedgehog a home over winter call Steve on 01772 700536 or 07966 245281.