Meet the woman saving Yorkshire's hedgehog victims of the lockdown rat boom

While her two bedrooms are full of hedgehogs tucked up snugly in cages full of torn up newspaper, Lucy Felgate-Baumberg sleeps downstairs in a chair.

But it doesn't bother her - looking after injured hedgehogs is a way of life that comes naturally to her.

"I just accept it, it is what needs to be done - the animals come first in my mind," she said.

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A native of Kent, Lucy only moved to the tiny coastal village of Grimston in East Yorkshire 18 months ago, after packing nine disabled hedgehogs, five dogs and a cat into her car.

Lucy Felgate-Baumberg at Lucky Hedgehog Rescue near Hull with Pickle the hedgehog Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

People turned up with sick and injured hedgehogs almost as soon as she got there.

"People saw me on Facebook as a rescue - the word spread even as I was arriving."

Hedgehogs are in decline and are are now listed as "vulnerable" - although you would never think it considering the number of patients admitted mid-winter.

One of her charges is Ted - they all have names so their medical histories can be kept. It's the middle of the day but Ted emerges, lifts a wet nose in our direction and gives us a beady look. He looks healthy but he's had a fracture, which has fused leaving him with a crooked leg.

Hedgehogs are in decline and are are now listed as "vulnerable" Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

"He will go into my disabled garden," she says. "There's 10 in at the moment and three going in this weekend."

In the bedroom next door there's yet more cages on racks, but Lucy says she can have up to double the 35 she has in at the minute.

She puts on gloves to handle Pickle - who weighs just 434g - and remains tightly curled in a ball, his nose protruding from under his spines and his four paws tightly clenched.

Pickle is suffering from a nasty contagious skin condition called mange, a mite that gets under the skin, and will need treatment for several more weeks.

Lucy Felgate-Baumberg at Lucky Hedgehog Rescue at Grimston outside the currently empty "maternity ward" in the garden Jonathan Gawthorpe

Despite it being the middle of winter, calls for help keep coming in, including increasingly to rescue hedgehogs caught in rat traps.

With people staying at home because of lockdown, they become aware of rats and want to control them - but even "humane" rat traps cause problems.

"One came from Hull completely pinned down in it, we think it may have been there over 48 hours. We had to use bolt cutters to get it out, it had cut its nose trying to escape," she says.

"Then there are the 'snapper trappers' where they catch their legs. Some have fractured bones, others have to have a leg amputated. We are also seeing more poisoning.

A sign outside Lucky Hedgehog Rescue Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

"There are ponds where they are falling in where there's no shallow end and strimmers and garden netting."

Spring is just round the corner, when Lucy will open the "maternity ward" of what she hopes one day will be the area's first hedgehog hospital.

A large wooden shed in her back garden, there is space for the bigger cages which accomodates the mothers and their hoglets in peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of the house.

It may even eventually free up one of the rooms in her house so she can get her belongings out of storage.

A brick outhouse could eventually be the "critical care unit", her hope being to have a hospital where a vet could come for a couple of hours a day, and could act as a resource for other rescue centres.

She said: "We can't treat hedgehogs without a vet and the vets can't cope with the number of hedgehogs being rescued.

"There's been so much focus on hedgehogs in the last year or so and now with Covid and people being at home, it has doubled, if not trebled our workload. All the rescuers are on their knees.

"But hedgehogs need our help. It's humans causing the problems, the roads, the chemicals, building and digging up the countryside. They come in blind after being found circling in crop fields.

"Setting up the charity is the next step, which means we could invite larger donations and mean we could employ a vet and complete the build of the hospital."

For more about Lucky HedgeHog Rescue visit www.facebook.com/hogrescue/