Blackpool’s own hedgehog heroines have called on people to extend a helping hand to Britain’s favourite wild animal.
Viv Critchley and Jean Turner, both 69, have cared for hundreds of sick and abandoned hedgehogs for four years from their homes on Molyneux Drive and St Annes Road.
Viv said: “When a hedgehog arrives at the hospital. they will usually need fluids urgently.
“What happens next depends on the injury the hog has. Some merely need a boost of fluid, some decent food and a rest.
“Most need treatment for lungworm, roundworm, mites or fly strike.
“If surgical treatment is needed, it is off to the vet.”
The hedgehog heroines hope to educate people about hedgehogs ahead of Hedgehog Awareness Week, which runs from May 6.
Viv said: “All of the hedgehogs who come into the hedgehog rescue have suffered.
“Careless humans who strim or mow without looking for little animals, who allow pets to run off lead and attack hedgehogs, who leave elastic bands or netting on the ground for hedgehogs to become entangled in.
“Of course, none of these humans intend the hedgehog any harm.
“So-called ‘safe’ slug pellets still kill slugs, and eating a poisoned slug still kills a hedgehog.
“Water is more important than anything else to a hedgehog.
“They are thirsty little creatures. Try leaving cat food under a storage container with a hole cut in for the hedgehog to crawl through.”
A species under threat
In the past 10 years, Britain’s hedgehog population has fallen by around 30 per cent.
It is believed there are now less than 1m hedgehogs living in the wild in the UK.
A loss of habitat and a decline in their preferred foodstuffs has been blamed.
Other common threats include slug pellets, garden ponds, cars, cattle grids, and litter.
To find out more about you you cna help the hedgehopg population, visit www.britishhedgehogs.org
If you see a hedgehog out during the day, call the hedgehog rescue on (01253) 314798.