A ROSYTH woman who devotes her time to saving hedgehogs has warned that warm weather is waking our hibernating friends.

Nadia Al-Dujaili, who runs Forth Hedgehog hospital, is asking locals to help the spiky animals who may be emerging a month early from their winter slumbers.

The unusually mild weather last week means the hogs are waking up hungry and thirsty but there is a lack of their natural food supplies, such as insects, snails, worms and berries.

And a drop in temperatures could cause even more problems.

Nadia, 34, of Middlebank Street, said: “It’s expected to go to about one-degree this week so it’s definitely not suitable to release the hedgehogs I have, and they’ll probably go back into hibernation again.

"If they do that they’ll be using even more fat reserves because it takes a couple of days to just gather up the energy to wake up. So, if you see a hedgehog through the day it’s probably because they’re ill or desperate to find food.”

Hedgehog numbers have been in sharp decline in recent years, it’s now thought there are less than a million in the UK due to the loss of their natural habitats to development.

The unseasonably warm spell we had didn't help either and Nadia said: “Chances are there will be lots of starving hedgehogs, who are poorly and weak. The best thing you can do is put out some dog or cat food and a bowl of water.

"They normally start hibernating around October but last winter it was more like November because again it was so mild.”

Nadia, who used to work for the SSPCA, currently has about 35 hedgehogs in her care.

She set up the hospital five years ago and said: “Quite a few get injured, so hedgehog numbers are declining.

"Some areas where they’re protected numbers are going up, but I think we all need to take more responsibility because we are the ones causing problems for wildlife.

“More roads, big housing developments and building fences right down to the ground are all decisions that have been made without any regard to wildlife.

“Hedgehogs haven’t changed, but we’ve altered their environments and their seasons.”

To find out more about Nadia’s work go to www.hedgehoghospital.org.uk