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Smoky the hedgehog returns to the fire station

Smoky will soon be returning to his fire station home Credit: Secret World

A hedgehog found in a fire engine building in Weston-super Mare is heading back after spending the winter at an animal rescue centre in Somerset.

Smoky - as he's been appropriately named - had been hiding in a carrier bag where he’d crawled to get some rest. He was young and rather small.

Wildlife experts say hedgehogs born late in the year struggle to put on enough weight to hibernate successfully so he was taken to Secret World Wildlife Rescue in East Huntspill.

Staff found he was underweight and had worms but after he was treated he soon started eating well on his own.

Our objective is always to rehabilitate and release the animals in our care but before he could be released back into the wild, Smoky went into hibernation and so he has remained at Secret World until now.

Smoky now weighs enough to be released and is getting ready to return home. I have visited the fire station and I have located a suitable release site within the grounds.

– Trudi Howell, Animal Carer, Secret World
Smoky tucked up in Secret World's Hibernation Hotel Credit: Secret World

Firefighters at Weston-super-Mare Fire Station are looking forward to their prickly visitor's return.

We are very happy to welcome Smoky back on the station grounds. It’s nice to hear he is back to full health and we’ll be keeping an eye out for him when he is back.

– Lee Wright, Site Manager, Weston-super-Mare fire station

Smoky should be back home just in time for Hedgehog Awareness Week which runs from 30 April to 6 May 2017. Organised by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS), the week highlights the problems hedgehogs face and how you can help them.