A three-year-old girl was attacked by a hedgehog which bit her on the toe while she was asleep in her bedroom.
Elsie was sharing a bed with her mother Chelsey Fowler and suddenly woke up screaming and reaching for her right leg.
The mother-of-four pulled back the covers to see what was wrong and saw a hedgehog clamped to the youngster’s bleeding little toe.
The 32-year-old said: ‘It was quarter past four in the morning and my daughter Elsie was in bed with me and she woke up screaming and holding her leg.
Three-year-old Elsie and her mother Chelsey Fowler, 32. Elsie was bitten on her litle toe by a hedgehog as she slept in bed
The toddler was left with a small wound on her little toe after being bitten by the hedgehog
‘In a blind panic I grabbed her leg to find out what was wrong, and this hedgehog was hanging off her baby toe.
‘I panicked because I didn’t expect there to be a hedgehog. I pushed it off her foot and it scarpered under the wardrobe.
‘Elsie was absolutely hysterical bless her, she’d never seen a hedgehog before or even knew what it was.
‘I can’t image if it had gone into the cot with Gracie sleeping in there, she was quite a big lady this hedgehog. She is massive.’
Ms Fowler phoned NHS 111 for advice as she cleaned the small wound on Elsie’s leg.
She said: ‘At first I don’t think they knew whether I was joking or not.
‘They said not to panic as the bleeding had stopped and to ring the doctor in the morning and get a tetanus shot, which we did.
The female hedgehog was later taken to an animal sanctuary before being returned to the wild
‘We all slept downstairs after that, and Elsie kept talking about the mean hedgehog.
‘In the morning I was trying to get my other two to school and I was telling the teacher I was running late because of this hedgehog. I don’t think they believed me.’
Since the attack on June 22 Elsie has been on antibiotics and the hedgehog is now at a local animal sanctuary.
Ms Fowler, lives in Stratford-up-Avon, Warwickshire, with her four children, Elsie and Gracie, and Charlie, aged 10, and eight-year-old Evie.
She still has no idea how the nocturnal spiky intruder got into her home or how it avoided her two cats.
The 32-year-old said: ‘We had been doing some gardening during the day so maybe we disturbed it, but it must have come in during the day because the doors were all locked at night.’
Local rescue charity Hedgehog Friendly Town said this wasn’t the first hedgehog that they had heard of climbing someone’s stairs this year.
The charity, run by schoolfriends Kyra Barboutis and Sophie Smith, checked over the hedgehog before returning it to the area around the home.
It’s thought the large female may have young to care for nearby.
She said: ‘We checked it over and it was a large female with no obvious injuries.
‘We have had three hedgehogs that have found their way into houses this year, two or which have ended up upstairs. They are great at climbing.
‘This female may well have been looking for a place to nest as it’s baby season at the moment.
‘Also, with the weather being so warm they are desperately in need of water. So please could people put out shallow dishes of water and maybe some food for the hedgehogs.
‘We were happy to send the hedgehog back to Chelsey’s family along with a hand-knitted hedgehog and some Spikes hedgehog food and hedgehog bookmarks to give to Elsie.
‘We have also invited Elsie to come and see the hedgehog hogspital when social distancing allows it.’