ONE of Scotland's best-loved garden creatures is facing a fight for survival this winter after being caught out by the recent torrential rain.

The hedgehog should be in hibernation by this time of year, but with the recent wet weather they have been unable to store up the body fat needed to go into hibernation.

Late litters have also left the creatures vulnerable to illness.

Loading article content

Scotland's recent torrential rain and generally damper conditions than usual have affected the species, according to animal welfare charity the Scottish SPCA.

Staff at the National Wildlife Rescue Centre at Fishcross, near Alloa, are currently caring for 75 hedgehogs, almost twice the amount cared for during the same period last year, and most are too small and weak to survive outside as the temperatures plunge.

Centre manager Colin Seddon said: "Hedgehogs should be hibernating by now but there will be some who won't survive without help.

"We urge anyone who finds one to call us so we can come and collect it. They should try to contain it by picking it up using gloves or a towel and placing it in a secure box."