THESE cute little critters have a new home for the holidays thanks to Swindon College.

Oak and Furrows Wildlife Rescue Centre was overloaded with hundreds of hedgehogs so the college offered to take in five of them until spring.

Animal care students at the college will learn about how to look after this type of wildlife and Oak and Furrows can focus on caring for the rest of the 250-plus hedgehogs at the centre.

CEO Charles Pope said: “We heard that the college were starting up an animal course and for us it made sense to give them some of our hedgehogs so that they could learn about how to look after them.

"It also really helps take the strain of us which means we can take in more animals.

“It’s brilliant to have the animal care course here in Swindon because it's ideal for the development process of our future animal care. It is vital that people are starting to understand wildlife more now.”

Out of the five hedgehogs, only one of them currently has a name - he is called Pumpkin.

He had to be treated earlier this year for lungworm, which usually causes progressively worsening signs of cardiac and respiratory disease and if left untreated, can be fatal in severe cases.

The marketing department at the college grouped together to foster Pumpkin, and a financial donation will be made each month to help with his upkeep.

There will be an option for other areas across the college to do the same for the other hedgehogs.

Director of faculty and head of animal care Dean Parsons said: “We are delighted to be working with such a charitable organisation that is providing students with the opportunity to develop meaningful skills that will prove crucial for their career pathway and skillset."

Swindon College is hosting a competition to decide what the remaining four hedgehogs will be called.

A small donation can be made with each suggestion which will then be entered into a lucky dip draw. All of the money raised by this competition will be donated to the wildlife centre.

The college will ask all companies in the area who enquire to hire out the education facility if they would like to donate a small amount to the charity to try to raise awareness as well as funding for the centre.

Mr Pope from Oak and Furrows added: “There are certain species like the hedgehog that are declining in numbers and our aim is to get them on the up again.

"With the help of people and places like Swindon College, this can be achieved.”