A lucky hedgehog miraculously escaped a prickly situation after being nearly crushed to death at a recycling plant near Stevenage, Hertfordshire.
Eagle-eyed Michelle Wright was working at Herts Skiphire when she spotted the female hedgehog, dubbed Skippy, on a conveyor belt on Friday November 29.
Ms Wright, 40, feared the hedgehog must have been dead because it had been through almost the entire recycling process.
But incredibly the animal had survived despite being unloaded from a skip, picked up by a huge industrial grabber and being tossed around inside a trommel, a washing machine like device used to separate waste.
Skippy even survived plummeting onto another conveyor belt before being picked up by Ms Wright.
Ms Wright said: 'She must have been protected by something in there, going through the trommel is like going on a fairground ride going round and round and you've got to keep running to keep up with it.
'In there are bricks, hardcore and things which are very heavy. When she had dropped on our belt, at first I thought she was dead, and maybe someone had put the body in a skip.
'But when I picked her up she sort of looked at me and rolled up into a ball. We found a cardboard box for her in our staff room and she was moving around in there, so we rang round for a rescue centre.'
Now Skippy is safe in the care of London Colney Hedgehog Rescue and amazingly owner Esther Chant said despite her ordeal, Skippy has no broken bones or spines.
She said: 'She's a very lucky hedgehog, we put it out there for our followers to name her and Skippy seemed like the best name.
'We've still got her as it's actually too cold to release hedgehogs at the moment. If we knew where she had come from, but I don't think we'll find out, we'd release her back there.
'She will be relocated now to another garden. She's eating well and not decided to hibernate, many of our hedgehogs are still awake at the moment and not all hedgehogs hibernate if the food source is there or they have a warm bed under a shed.'
Skippy, who weighs a healthy 700g, is thought to be an adult and around middle-aged judging by her size.
Ms Chant said: 'People can help hedgehogs in their gardens by leaving holes under fences so they can travel, hedgehogs do become trapped in gardens.
'You can keep a wild patch at the bottom of the garden with leaves there, even if you have a shed with a hole underneath, leave the hole there, don't fill it up.
'You can put food down, cat food, dog food, cat biscuits and just a bowl of water is absolutely fine. It gives them support during the winter.
'If any hedgehogs are seen during the daytime, they do need to come to a rescue centre, it's an ill hedgehog if it is seen out during the day.'
Ms Chant takes in around 250 to 300 hedgehogs every year and relies entirely on donations.
She added: 'We've got 80 hedgehogs in at the moment over the winter, but we've also got 44 out with foster carers.
'The aim is we treat them and as we can't release them in the cold they go to foster carers. Then they'll come back to us in the spring ready to be released.'