With frosty weather setting in all over the country, the RSPCA has provided tips for animal-lovers on how to help their local wildlife make it through the chilly months.
Home-owners with garden ponds are advised to make a hole in the ice if the water freezes over, in order to prevent the build-up of toxic gases under the surface.
The statement stresses that the ice should be melted gently with a warm pan, rather than using boiling water which could harm wildlife in the pond.
Not tidying wild areas such as piles of leaves and shrubs can provide a snug winter shelter for rodents like squirrels and hedgehogs, while placing seeds, nuts and berries around the garden can really help out birds who may struggle to find food during the cold snap.
Each winter thousands of animals are brought into RSPCA rescue centres suffering from dehydration, hunger and cold, with 500 received last December alone.