By Niamh Shackleton
A pair of doting schoolgirl’s have set up their very own ‘hogspital’ after rescuing 400 hedgehogs in their back garden.
Sophie Smith and Kyra Barboutis, both 13, from Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warks, started helping their four-legged friends at the young age of nine.
Since setting up their very own rescue centre, the girls now both have their own mini clinics in their back gardens where they take care of hedgehogs around the clock – with local vets even relying on the girls to provide after care to their spiky patients.
The teenagers have now saved over 400 hedgehogs and currently have 15 in their care.
Kyra Barboutis, said: “We set up our clinic called Hedgehog Friendly Town slowly four years ago – we only started off as foster carers with a couple of cages!
“As Sophie and I learnt more over time, it meant we were able to care for more of them.
“We don’t have loads of free time but we spend all day at school and then look after the hedgehogs during all of our spare time!
“But we don’t mind this as we love looking after them and we both want to become vets one day, and we know we need to do well in school to be able to achieve that.”
Kyra and Sophie managed to get all their equipment, despite it being so expensive, through fundraising and find a lot of local residents will donate food to them if they’re running low.
Helen Barboutis, 42, Kyra’s mum, said: “When the girls were younger they went to a local hedgehog rescue centre and decided they wanted to do something themselves to help.
“They then started fostering injured hedgehogs before releasing them back into the wild and have progressed from there.
“Both Kyra and Sophie have built up their skills over the years and they work closely with a local vet who teaches them how to care for the hedgehogs properly.”
The two 13-year-old’s call their clinics ‘Hedgehog Friendly Town’ and are even qualified to administer injections to the hedgehogs as long as an adult is present.
Helen added: “They will even get up in the middle of the night to feed the hedgehogs – they’re so dedicated!
“Their ‘hogspitals’ even have triage sheets and everything so the girls can properly keep track on how the hedgehogs are doing and what medication they need.
“The girls know the hedgehogs aren’t pets so they try not to get too attached.
Following all their hard work, Sophie and Kyra have received an award from Dame Jane Goodall, and even had a letter from Sir David Attenborough too.
To further improve the quality of care they give to the hedgehogs, Hedgehog Friendly Town are trying to raise £5,000 to buy equipment such as thermal cameras, more intensive care units and electric heated beds.
To read more visit: @hedgehogfriendlytown on Instagram.