RESCUE centres are preparing for a hectic month as calls about hedgehogs are on the rise.

Last year, the RSPCA received 848 calls from the North-East regarding the prickly creature with 165 made in July - making it the charity's busiest month.

Similarly, an average of 5.7 hedgehogs per day were admitted to one of the charity’s four wildlife centres, but in the peak month of July, this rose to an average of 12.4 per day.

RSPCA Wildlife Scientific Officer Evie Button said: “We receive more calls about hedgehogs than about almost any other wild animal. Averaged out, we get a call every hour of every day relating to these iconic animals.

“July is our busiest month for hedgehogs. Not only do calls about hedgehogs peak, but so do admissions to our four wildlife centres as members of the public and our own officers bring in orphaned, sick or injured animals for treatment and rehabilitation.

"Please remember to remove sports and fruit netting, cover drains and holes, check before using a strimmer or mower, look in compost heaps before forking over and avoid using slug pellets as these are poisonous to hedgehogs.

“We also receive calls from concerned members of the public who have seen a baby hedgehog - a hoglet - on its own. Our advice is firstly to check whether they actually need rescuing, by watching from a distance. Generally, it's best to leave them alone, but there are a few things you can do to check if the hoglet does need help. If their eyes are open and they're not in immediate danger, monitor from a distance. If you're concerned, you can try offering food and fresh water.

“During the summer months, only intervene straight away if you find a baby hedgehog in immediate danger (such as on a road) and the mother has been killed or if their eyes are closed and they are alone.”

  • More details on what to do if you find a sick, injured or orphaned hedgehog as well as how to help them in your garden, can be found on the RSPCA’s website