The hedgehogs of Swindon are set to receive extra protection on the roads after new signs were made available to warn drivers of potential hazards from small mammals.

The new sign – featuring an image of a hedgehog – will appear across the UK where animals such as otters, squirrels and badgers are likely to be crossing the highway.

Current signage only focuses on smaller species such as toads, as well as deer and livestock.

The sign was designed by the Department for Transport in order to try and help prevent accidents and reverse the decline in wildlife numbers.

A spokesman for Oak & Furrows, a wildlife rescue charity based near Cricklade, said: “We are thrilled to hear news of any protective measures put into place for the benefit of our wildlife.

“We have admitted a hedgehog only this week who was injured by a car on the road and this is a common occurrence.

“We are thrilled that the Department for Transport will be warning road users to look out for this wonderful, endangered species.”

Robert Buckland, the MP for South Swindon, echoed that view.

He said “I have long had concerns about the hedgehog population and the effect of other predators on them, plus verge and hedgerow cutting that often ignores the risks.

“Recent estimates have put the hedgehog population in the UK at around one million, compared to around 30 million in the 1950s, which is extremely concerning.

“I am glad the government has taken action with the new sign and I hope that it will help prevent accidents and reverse the decline in wildlife.

“Here in Swindon, I will be encouraging the local authority to work closely with animal welfare groups in order to identify accident and wildlife hotspots where the new signs will be located.”