THE RSPCA is braced for a spike in calls involving hedgehogs over the summer - and a rescuer in York has urged people in the city to take care of the lovable animals.
A total of 6,120 calls about sick, injured and orphaned hedgehogs were made to the RSPCA’s national helpline in 2021, nearly half of which came in during the busiest months of July, August and September.
The charity said the most calls they received last year related to sick or weak hedgehogs, followed by injured animals. In August alone, the RSPCA was answering an average of 23 calls a day about sick and injured hedgehogs.
Staff at The RSPCA's four wildlife centres were kept busy in 2021, with 2,165 hedgehogs admissions, an average of six hedgehogs a day, rising to 11 a day in August.
In 2021, 174 calls about hedgehogs were made to the RSPCA in North Yorkshire - and 48 in the East Riding of Yorkshire.
Hedgehog rescuer and wildlife gardener, Emma Farley, from Little Silver Hedgehog in York, has shared some tips on how people can protect hedgehogs from danger.
She said: "Water is crucial for all wildlife and everyone can help by providing several shallow bowls of water around their gardens and local green spaces year-round. Large terracotta plant pot bases around one-inch deep are ideal and should be topped up morning and evening in hot weather.
"Supplementary food such as kitten or cat biscuits, ideally served from a hedgehog feeding station, can also help save lives. Wildlife friendly gardening is also essential to improve habitats longer term.
"Leave your grass long, create hedgehog highways, plant hedges and shrubs, build log piles and grow plants that attract insects and provide cover throughout the seasons."
Meanwhile, RSPCA scientific officer, Evie Button said that hedgehog calls always peak during the summer months - but the heatwave could make things worse.
She said: “Because we get many calls about injured or trapped animals we have some useful tips on our website.
“During the summer months, only intervene straight away if you find a baby hedgehog in immediate danger, such as on a road, a baby hedgehog that weighs less than 300g, which will be about apple-sized, without an adult hedgehog nearby, or if the baby is sick, injured or surrounded by flies.”
To report concerns about an animal contact the RSPCA’s hotline on 0300 1234 999 between 8am and 8pm. With the cruelty line experiencing a very high volume of calls and because of the high workload they are currently facing, the team said they are prioritising emergencies.
More details on what to do if you find a hedgehog in danger, as well as how to help them in your garden, can be found on the RSPCA’s website.