Prickly heat: the suffering of the hedgehogs

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prolonged hot weather may be fine for us but it's not much good for wildlife, and it is particularly bad for hedgehogs, while for baby hedgehogs it's even worse.

The heat and drought of the last few weeks have dried out the ground to such an extent that normal hedgehog food items such as slugs and worms have become much harder to find and there is a lack of available water. As a result, adults tend to wander off for great distances on food hunts, and youngsters get left behind.

Tiggywinkles, the wildlife hospital near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire which is something of a hedgehog specialist, currently has 250 distressed hedgehogs on its books and 50 of them are babies like this one peering through a crowd of adult spines. "A lot of them are orphaned," said the Tiggywinkles founder, Les Stocker. "And they wander off looking for food." Tiggywinkles takes in about 3,000 hedgehogs a year.

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