A mother hedgehog has died and her three babies seriously injured after they were accidentally burned in a bonfire in north Norfolk.
All four had burnt skin or spines and were suffering from smoke inhalation, leading to the mother hog dying shortly after being rescued.
The three babies are now recovering at the East Winch Wildlife Centre.
The incident has prompted the RSPCA to issue a warning to be extra vigilant when lighting fires this autumn.
Centre manager Alison Charles said: “The members of the public who brought this hedgehog family in were really upset as they did the right thing and actually had checked the bonfire before starting it - but just didn’t see them.
“They did see the hogs once the fire was lit, and pulled them out, but not until it was too late for the mum, unfortunately.
“It can be very hard to see a brown hedgehog in amongst a pile of wood, and the only way to be sure is to move the bonfire before actually lighting it.
“It helps to build the bonfire as near as possible to the time of lighting, to ensure hedgehogs and other wildlife are not sleeping in the pile when it is lit.
“It is a cautionary reminder as we enter the fireworks and bonfire season about the importance of taking the time to check bonfires before they are lit.”
It is hoped the hedgehogs will be returned to the wild once they have made a recovery.