ANIMAL sanctuary bosses say one of the driest springs on record is having a devastating effect on wildlife.

Wildlives animal sanctuary, in Thorrington, has seen a 50 per cent rise in the number of casualties being brought in.

Owner Rosie Catford predicts they will see more than 600 animals this month.

She explained: “There’s just no food.

“The ground is so hard, birds such as blackbirds, robins and starlings, can’t get to their food, and then it goes right up the food chain.

“Birds of prey are suffering and badgers can’t get to worms.

“Hedgehogs are probably suffering more than anything else. They rely on slugs, snails and invertebrates, but they can’t dig because the ground is so hard.

“They are coming here in the most appalling state, dehydrated and starving.”

Ms Catford said the charity could not release the animals because they would starve.

She added: “I’ve never known anything like this before. This is the time of year when everything has babies.

“We’ve had fox cubs and baby birds and hedgehogs. We’ve even had an adder. You name it, we’re getting it.”

One of the latest patients is an orphaned badger, named Betsy by staff.

The cub was dehydrated and crawling with flies before arriving at the centre. She is starting to put on weight and should be fine, says Ms Catford.

She urged residents to help wildlife by putting out good quality non-fish catfood at night and shallow dishes of water.

They can also create mud so birds can use it for nests.