Hedgehogs are waking from hibernation unwell and in need of rescue, according to a local wildlife conservationist.

Paula’s Wildlife Rescue and Hedgehog Friendly Portland have taken in 11 sick and injured adult hedgehogs which have come out of hibernation this Spring.

Jo Morland from Hedgehog Friendly Portland said: "This is many more than in previous years and three of them died. They had made it through the winter but were too sick to survive when they woke up.

"Larger numbers than usual have been found lying out in the day and brought into hedgehog rescue centres by concerned members of the public.

"Typically the hedgehogs are lethargic, cold, dehydrated, thin and often have many ticks, all symptoms of poor health.

"Hedgehog rescuers can give them first aid treatment and ongoing care for underlying conditions such as parasites. They have a high success rate in returning recovered hogs to the wild."

One hedgehog that was rescued had more than 100 individual ticks and another one had ringworm.

Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals and sleep in their nests during daylight so hogs found out in the day at this time of year are most likely unwell and in need of care.

You can help by putting the hedgehog in a cardboard box with holes in the lid, torn newspaper for bedding and a bowl of water, and contacting a hedgehog rescuer as soon as possible.

Jo said: "Many people don’t know that hedgehogs out in the day are in trouble. For example, a volunteer at Chiswell Walled Garden had seen a hedgehog lying out in the day there, and thought it was asleep and that she shouldn’t disturb it.

"It was in the same place two days later and was rescued by the gardener, who knew a bit about hedgehogs. They brought it to us but by that time the hog was very dehydrated, wobbly on his feet and extremely unwell. He wouldn’t eat for a couple of days and nearly didn’t make it."

If you find a hedgehog that you think needs rescuing, get in touch with Paula’s Wildlife Rescue on Portland by calling 07814 168868 or emailing phebblethwaite3@yahoo.co.uk.

Alternatively, you can contact Hedgehog Friendly Portland on 01305 860461or portlandhedgehogs@jomorland.f9.co.uk