Somerset residents have been issued with advice as hedgehogs begin to wake from their Winter hibernation.

Guidance by British Hedgehog Preservation warned of tell tale signs that a hedgehog is in need of help.

The charity warned that hedgehogs surrounded by flies, looking wobbly, lethargic, injured or trapped are all indicators that the animal has gotten into difficulty.

They advised that a hedgehog should be handled with gardening gloves or a folded tea towel, and put into a cardboard or plastic box. The box should be brought inside into a quiet room away from pets and children.

They went on to say that a towel should be folded over a hotter bottle, and the hedgehog placed on top, before offering the animal a small amount of food and water. Dog or cat food is suitable for this purpose where no hedgehog food is on hand.

The British Hedgehog Association can be reached at 01584 890 801 to provide the contact details of your local hedgehog rescue volunteer.

The advice comes as Transition Town Wellington raised awareness of the impact of light pollution on nocturnal animals such as hedgehogs. The local environmental group said: "Many insects and their nocturnal predators such as bats and hedgehogs all lie dormant in the winter."

"However as they start to wake up as daylight hours increase, did you realise that our seemingly innocent garden lightning, street lights and even light from our windows, can be having a massively detrimental affect on the other creatures that call our town home?"

The Somerset Wildlife Trust has issued advice on water safety, pesticide use, and how best to build a hedgehog house.

Further information can be found at the Somerset Wildlife Trust website.

Hedgehogs typically emerge from hibernation in late March, however the timing depends on the weather and the individual hedgehog, meaning they can be seen earlier or later.