Members of the public are being urged to be on the look-out for hedgehogs on the roads this autumn.
The animals have begun the process of looking for somewhere to hibernate, sometimes making their way along roads in the process.
Northumberland Wildlife Trust issued the plea after a member of the public took a young hedgehog into its headquarters in Gosforth, having been found wandering along the side of a road in Newcastle.
Suffering from dehydration, the male hedgehog – now called Pumpkin – is currently being looked after by Tyrina Gibson, a PDSA veterinary nurse who, along with her colleagues, has set up The Wildlife Retreat in Cramlington.
Much to the delight of Trust staff, Pumpkin was whisked away to be warmed up before being given fluids and food to strengthen him, prior to his eventual hibernation.
Mike Pratt, Northumberland Wildlife Trust chief executive, said: “I am delighted Tyrina and her colleagues are taking the time, effort and expense to help look after the region’s wildlife when it’s in need of help.
“Everybody can do their bit for hedgehogs by creating a little area in their garden that mimics woodland for hibernation such as a pile of twigs or leaves or raked up grass cuttings in a pile next to a wall for shelter – it’s a great excuse not to tidy up the garden this time of year.”
Anyone with concerns about the welfare of a hedgehog can contact Susan Wilson on 0191 284 6884 firstname.lastname@example.org
As little as ten years ago, the hedgehog was a common sight in gardens, hedgerows and parks but it is fast disappearing from the UK, and since the 1950s, around 95 per cent of hedgehogs have been lost.
In the countryside, hedgerows have been removed, pastures ploughed up and pesticides used, reducing food sources and shelter and, in the towns, green spaces have been built on, fences installed and gardens paved and tidied so that traditional corridors where hedgehogs used to roam in search of food, mates and places to nest have dramatically reduced.