Hedgehog babies have been left as orphans after their mother is believed to have been ‘kicked’ to death. 

The RSPCA has launched an appeal after the hedgehog succumbed to its injuries. 

A concerned member of the public brought the animal to Wildlives Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre in Thorrington, after they had found it on September 18 at 2pm. 

The hedgehog was found in an alleyway running from Glebe Avenue past Clavering Road into Church Meadows in Braintree. 

Despite the best efforts of the staff, the wild animal died soon after its arrival.

An examination showed that it had been healthy and a good weight but suffered severe bruising and swelling to the right side of her abdomen. 

The female was lactating, which means that its babies are now left behind as orphans. 

Rosie Catford, from Wildlives, said: “It was so upsetting for us all to see this poor hedgehog in this state and to know that she had suffered so much pain.

"She died when she got here and she had bruising and swelling which was most likely from internal bleeding. 

“No living creature should be treated this way and hedgehogs are red listed and in danger of extinction and losing a hedgehog and possibly three to five babies as well is devastating - every life is important. 

RSPCA Inspector Emma Beynon said: “We are all just devastated by what has happened to this poor hedgehog and it is even more upsetting to think that she had probably only recently had some baby hogs which have now been left alone without their mum. 

“We believe she has been kicked to death judging by her injuries and why someone would do this to such an innocent animal is just impossible to understand. 

“Whoever did this is not only responsible for the death of this hedgehog but also her babies as well who won't be able to survive without her. 

“I am investigating this, and I am appealing for information, and I would urge anyone who might have any information to contact me in confidence on the RSPCA inspector appeal line on 0300 123 8018 quoting incident 01157240.”