THEY’RE not your usual house guests, but 40 hedgehogs are making themselves at home in Dewsbury Moor.
The spiky critters are being looked after by Vicky Greenwood, who runs Oggles Hedgehog Rehabilitation and Rescue Centre from her home in Scarr End Lane.
She set up the organisation a year ago after she found a hedgehog at work that needed looking after, but struggled to find anywhere to take it in.
She said: “I’ve always liked hedgehogs, but they are classed as an endangered species. I’m an animal lover and I just wanted to be able to help them.”
At first, Vicky set herself a 15 hedgehog limit, but she was inundated and now has around 40 hedgehogs living in her lounge, kitchen and bathroom.
Each hedgehog needs around £50 worth of food to see it through the winter and once vets bills are added, the cost of care rockets.
Vicky said: “It’s expensive, and at the moment I pay for it myself. I just do what I can and look after them as best as I can.
“It’s horrific what some of them have to go through, and a lot of the local centres can’t take any more.
“If I don’t take them in they might not make it.”
Recently, Vicky has been caring for one hedgehog that had a leg bitten off, while another had a nasty run in with a garden strimmer.
Vicky fits caring for the hedgehogs around a full time job at an office equipment firm in Huddersfield, but has help from her partner, Steve, and one of their neighbours.
The intention is to release the hedgehogs back into the wild, or find them a secure garden where someone will feed them.
Vicky hopes to save enough money to set up a shed where the hedgehogs can stay, rather than them being in her house.
She said that any hedgehog out during the day, unless it was carrying nesting material such as grass, needed help.
Autumn juveniles which have left their mothers but are not big enough to survive hibernation are particularly vulnerable at this time of year.
Vicky said: “Anyone having hedgehogs visiting their garden at the moment, if they are not already doing so, could help by putting out a bowl of meaty cat or dog wet food or biscuits and a shallow bowl of water.”
l If you find a hedgehog in need, visit www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk, call the British Hedgehog Preservation Society on 01584 890 801 or ring Vicky on 07954138853.