A HEDGEHOG has been found seriously injured after getting itself caught in a rat trap.
Now the RSPCA is warning people to take precautions when they are setting traps after the incident on Wednesday, August 13.
The young male animal was found dragging the trap on his leg through a garden in Gables Lea in Sutton Bonington. He had been caught in a T-Rex trap, which is designed to catch rats.
The hedgehog is now recovering at Helping Hands Hedgehogs Rescue Centre in Queniborough, but the ordeal left him with four of his five toes missing on his front right foot. Some of the toes were cut off by the trap and the remainder had to be amputated as they were so badly damaged.
Fran Whitten, an RSPCA animal collection officer, said: “This hedgehog’s injuries could have been much worse. Often people are harming or killing wildlife without meaning to, and may not even realise that they are breaking the law.”
Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, it is a legal requirement for anyone setting a trap to take reasonable precautions to prevent injury to protected wildlife. This means that a trap designed to catch rats should be placed undercover where it can trap only the intended species, and not be set out in the open as this one seems to have been.
Mrs Whitten added: “The RSPCA is against the use of traps and snares to catch any animal. However, it is essential that where they are used, they are set in accordance within the law and cannot injure another wild or domestic animal.
“We’re therefore urging anyone who is thinking of using traps to take care to ensure that the trap is covered and set in an appropriate place.”
Anyone found guilty of endangering a wild animal can face a £5,000 fine and/or six months in prison under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.