Four baby hedgehogs just 10 days old had a narrow escape when a gardener in Sussex heard them squeaking just before lighting a bonfire.
The property owner had been clearing vegetation from their garden and piled the material up to form a bonfire. As they went to light it, they found they'd disturbed a nest of hedgehogs.
Volunteer rescuer Kathy Martyn from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) went to investigate.
– Kathy Martyn, rescue worker
When I got there I found four approximately 10 day old hedgehogs. They were very cold and clearly had been away from their mum for a while and needed to come into care. We try to reunite baby hedgehogs back with their mum where possible, but they had been away for too long and their nest cleared too long ago."
WRAS has praised the finders for their quick action in calling and for being vigilant before lighting the bonfire. Hedgehogs will be giving birth at the moment and throughout the summer and into the Autumn too.
Trevor Weeks from WRAS said: “We always advise that if you are clearing a garden check the area first for nests, especially in borders where there is long grass, but also in pampas grass, and other thick vegetation.
"When dismantling sheds or greenhouses be prepared to replace the base in case there are creatures nesting underneath. Quite often hedgehogs will move their young so by checking after a few days the nest may be empty, but be prepared to leave the base in place till the baby hedgehogs have grown up and moved which can take up to 6 weeks. We recommend that sheds should be dismantled in October time when hedgehogs are more grown up and less likely to have problems with losing homes under sheds."