COUNTRY gardeners are likely to have some new visitors on their patch in the next few weeks - and animal lovers are asking that they should be given a helping hand.
This is the time of the year when baby hedgehogs - known as hoglets - are born and their mothers are busily involved in building nests for the newcomers.
This is a tough task, particularly in hot weather when the ground is hard and dry, and gardeners lucky enough to have these tiny visitors are asked to put out pet food and, in dry sessions, water.
The babies stay in the nest for eight weeks before going off to make their own way in the world but - here is the good news for their mothers - they are completely spineless at birth. The spines begin to grow two hours later and are fully visible after 24 hours.