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Prickly Spike has a home for life

A hedgehog has found a new home at Wildwood after being hand-reared by a local family.

Spike was found without her mum wandering aimlessly close to starvation.

She was nursed back to health and has got so used to having her meals provided for her that she is too tame to be released back into the wild.

She will join two other hedgehogs at the Herne attraction and will lead as normal life as possible.

Instead of rent she has 'agreed' to visit schools with Wildwood's outreach team.

Hedgehogs have had a tough time over the last few years and numbers have dropped so much that they have now been included on the British Bio-diversity Action Plan as a priority species.

Their decline is a complex mixture of factors including habitat loss, use of pesticides and milder winters.

Feeding hedgehogs

You should be careful feeding hedgehogs on bread and milk. If they have nothing else to eat it causes diarrhoea.

However, wild ones have natural foods to dilute the effects and the extra food helps fatten them for winter.

Pet foods, baby foods, milk substitutes and goats milk are all better diets. Alternatively dilute cow's milk at least 50/50 with water, but only for wild ones with access to other foods, not for captives.

For more information visit www.wildwoodtrust.org

The Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus

The only spiny British mammal.

Head/body length: 150-300mm, depending on age, tail about 10-20mm.

Weight: Up to 2kg, heaviest in autumn.

The hedgehog is common in parks, gardens and farmland throughout mainland Britain Their prefered habitat is woodland edges, hedgerows and suburban habitats where there is plenty of food for them.

They eat beetles, worms, caterpillars, slugs and almost anything they can catch, but little plant material. They will take eggs and chicks of ground-nesting birds though rarely in large numbers.

Hedgehogs travel about 1-2km each night, males more than females.

Hedgehogs live for up to 10 years, but this is exceptional; over half die before their first birthday and average life expectancy is about two to three years.

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