RESCUERS rushed to the aid of four 10-day-old baby hedgehogs found in a bonfire at Piltdown last Thursday evening.
Volunteer rescuer Kathy Martyn from Uckfield went to the address at Piltdown after a resident about to light a bonfire stopped just in time after hearing squeaking sounds coming from the garden debris.
The householders had cleared vegetation on Wednesday and piled the material up to form a bonfire. They were about to light it when they discovered they had disturbed a nest of baby hedgehogs.
WRAS rescue co-ordinator Trevor Weeks said: “Once we knew how long they had been away from their mum we made the rescue a priority call and Kathy was on site within 15 minutes. When I got there I found four baby 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 mums where possible but these had been away for too long.
“I put them on to a heat pad, cuddled them up in a small carrier with soft bedding and they were then taken to one of our experienced hedgehog rearers, Monica Russell,” Kathy said.
WRAS praised the finders for being vigilant before lighting the bonfire. Hedgehogs will be giving birth at the moment, through the summer and into the autumn too. Trevor went on: “We advise people to check the area if you are clearing a garden.
Look out for nests, especially in borders where there is long grass, in pampas grass and other vegetation. When dismantling sheds or greenhouses be prepared to replace the base in case anything is nesting underneath.
Sometimes mummy hedgehogs 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 babies have grown up and moved which can take up to six weeks. Hedgehogs are nationally on the decline so they need all the help they can get.” Contact WRAS at 01825 873003.