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Snuffles the 7ft hedgehog finds home at British Wildlife Centre near Lingfield

PUBLISHED: 09:52 31 March 2014 | UPDATED: 11:12 03 July 2014

The 7ft hedgehog takes pride of place at the British Wildlife Centre (Photo: Matt Binstead)

The 7ft hedgehog takes pride of place at the British Wildlife Centre (Photo: Matt Binstead)

Matt Binstead

There was consternation among the native species at the British Wildlife Centre near Lingfield as a seven-foot hedgehog called Snuffles joined their number.

Things soon settled down, however, when it was noted that the larger-than-life creature was in fact created by a team of specialist sculptors using mainly natural materials; 2,000 soft wood spikes in all, willow and coconut fibre.

This wonderfully life-like structure was built by UKTV in February to mark the second series of David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities and then donated to BWC.

Sir David Attenborough was pleased with the hedgehog’s move to Surrey: “I am delighted that the giant hedgehog has found such an appropriate home.”

Sadly, in real life this once familiar nocturnal garden visitor is now a rare sight and their numbers continue to dwindle.

In the 1950s the UK hedgehog population was an estimated 30 million. Since then numbers have plummeted and some estimates put the current number at less than a million.

“We’ve given the hedgehog pride of place at our main entrance, to give visitors a huge welcome,” says British Wildlife Centre owner, David Mills.

“It’s perfect for the centre as we are home to the finest collection of native species in the country. Our visitors love seeing the hedgehogs at our Keeper Talks, they are such a popular and iconic British species, now sadly in decline”.

If you want to meet the huge hedgehog, as well as the small real-life ones, then the British Wildlife Centre opens every weekend and during state school holidays. For more information, visit www.britishwildlifecentre.co.uk
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FURTHER WILDLIFE READING

• Surrey Wildlife Trust has a monthly column in Surrey Life magazine

• British Wildlife Centre, near Lingfield - a wild day out in Surrey

• The new WWF headquarters in Woking: one of the UK’s greenest buildings and a new Surrey attraction

• Actress Virginia McKenna on Born Free, life in Coldharbour and her memoirs, The Life in My Years

• Nicholas Owen meets Wildlife Aid’s Simon Cowell

• Discover how the Shalford-based David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation is helping to protect the world’s endangered species
 

 

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