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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 February 2008, 12:50 GMT
Mild winter keeps hedgehogs awake
Beryl Steadman has nursed 40 hedgehogs back to health
A hedgehog hospital has seen an influx of prickly patients who have forgotten to hibernate due to the mild weather.

Beryl Steadman has seen a steady flow of admissions to her converted garage in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, when the animals should be tucked up in bed.

Mrs Steadman said normally they should sleep through the winter, but they appear to be confused.

She is looking after 11 who are still wide awake, and said those still in the wild would be struggling for food.

She set up the hospital to nurse injured or underweight hedgehogs back to health before returning to the wild.

They are referred there by vets across west Wales, but she said normally her services were not required during the winter.

Beryl Steadman
The slugs and snails are not out there for them in the wild and they coming here underweight
Beryl Steadman

"They are not hibernating - usually they would do so between October and November up to March or April," she said.

"Usually this would be a quiet time, for me but it's very busy.

"The problem is the food. The slugs and snails are not out there for them in the wild and they coming here underweight."

Mrs Steadman has cared for and released 40 hedgehogs since she started the hospital.

"I used to work at the seal hospital and someone brought in a hedgehog, so I found out what to do and that's how it started," she added.

As well as her converted garage, she has outdoor homes for the ones too poorly to release back into the wild when the summer comes.

Listen to the hedgehog hospital owner

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