Dorset is on hedgehog alert as July generally sees a 'spike' in calls about the prickly creatures.

This month is the busiest for the RSPCA as they are alerted to orphaned, trapped or injured hedgehogs.

From a total of 167 calls calls about hedgehogs in Dorset made to the RSPCA’s national helpline throughout 2018, the number of calls spiked in July at 28.

RSPCA Wildlife Scientific Officer Evie Button said: “We receive more calls about hedgehogs than about almost any other wild animal.

“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.”

Some of the top reasons given by callers for contacting the animal charity about a hedgehog were that they had found either a sick or injured animal, an orphaned newborn or juvenile, or an animal that was trapped or entangled.

Evie Button added: “Because we get so many calls about injured or trapped animals we have some useful tips to help keep hedgehogs safe in the garden. 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 people 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.

“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.”

For more advice see the RSPCA’s website. To report concerns about an animal contact the RSPCA’s Hotline on 0300 1234 999.