Hedgehog encased in CLAY rescued from building site trench

This hedgehog had a lucky escape after she fell into a trench on a building site and became encased entirely in clay.

The unfortunate animal - who was later named Clayla by her rescuers - strayed into a construction area in St Albans, Hertfordshire.

It's thought after falling into a pit over the weekend Clayla became covered in thick clay as she tried to escape.

Because the area was deserted, she was only discovered by eagle-eyed workmen on Monday.

Local animal charity London Colney Hedgehog Rescue recovered Clayla but needed to work fast to get her cleaned up and warm again after her ordeal.

Esther Chant, from the charity, said it took more than half an hour to wash off the clay from the small mammal.

She said: 'Because she was so cold it made it difficult for us to relax her properly from her ball shape.

'If we had warmed her up first, which is the usual first aid on any arrival, the clay would have dried hard. We also had to be careful she didn't aspirate the muddy water.

'We have named her Clayla, and she will stay at the rescue to make sure she has a full bill of health before being returned to a nearby garden.'

Ms Chant said the builders who found Clayla were shocked to find her under a covering board they lifted off a trench.

She said: 'All of the builders were so quick to jump in and get her out.

'The covering board had gaps at the side which is where she would have fallen in.

'The site was unattended over the weekend and judging by the state she was in she had been there all that time.

'She was a clay mud ball and freezing cold. Her claws are worn down where she had been scratching to get out.'

The builders agreed to now leave boards coming out of trenches and pits on the site to help any other wildlife climb out if it gets stuck.