MONTROSE people are being urged by the Scottish SPCA to call their animal helpline if they find a hedgehog during the freezing winter weather.
Already staff at the Wildlife Rescue Centre, based in Fife, are caring for 84 hedgehogs - some of which arrived weighing around a third of their ideal body weight.
Centre manager Colin Seddon said: “Hedgehogs should be hibernating by now but there will some out there who won’t survive without help.
“Most of the hedgehogs in our care have either been caught out by the bad weather and didn’t have enough time to store up the necessary body fat to go into hibernation or are from late litters, which is common.
“These youngsters will be out foraging for food such as earthworms, beetles, slugs, snails, insects, fruit and carrion but they’ll be finding it very difficult because of the cold weather.
“Some of them have arrived weighing only 200 grams, which is around a third of the weight they’ll be when we release them.
“If anyone finds a hedgehog during this spell of bad weather they should try to contain it by picking it up using gardening gloves or a thick towel and placing it in a secure box.
“It can then be left with fresh water and tinned cat food until it can be collected.”
Earlier this year hedgehogs at the centre had to be put on a calorie controlled diet after a prolonged winter delayed their release.
Anyone who finds a hedgehog this winter can call the Scottish SPCA’s animal helpline on 03000 999 999.