This prickly huddle of cute hoglets are lucky to be alive after they were found on a building site snuggling together for body heat in the sudden cold snap.
The tiny hedgehogs were born late due to the warm Indian summer and at just three weeks weigh a fragile 60 grams – a tenth of the bodyweight needed to survive the harsh winter.
The hogs, which have only just opened their eyes for the first time, were handed to Shepreth Wildlife Park in Royston, Herts., a fortnight ago.
Experts at the centre are fattening them up using a special milk formula and will nurse them through the winter in a bid to get their strength up.
They will be released into the wild in the spring when the weather warms up and they are strong enough to survive on their own.
Rebecca Willers, Animal Manager at Shepreth Wildlife Park, said that the warm autumn meant baby hogs were being born later.
She said: ”We have never received hoglets at such an incredibly small weight so late on in the season.
”We usually see hoglets this size in the summer months, which allows us enough time to get them up to a good weight for release before the cold weather sets in.
”Warmer Autumn months are likely to be responsible for these second late litters to be occurring.
”We have already managed to get these babies up to 90 grams in the last few days, but we will unfortunately have to keep them now at the unit until Spring next year, in order for them to stand a chance at survival in the wild.”
Hedgehogs usually hibernate from November to March depending on weather conditions but underweight hedgehogs will not hibernate at all.
This puts them at greater risk of freezing during the cold winter months and many rely on scraps of food left by humans to survive.
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