An animal lover got the fright of her life when a huge "sewer rat" got stuck in her drain - only to discover it was a hungry hedgehog.

Beverley Rodgers, of Harvester Road in Epsom, contacted the Epsom Guardian in a panic after she discovered what she thought was a "sewer rat bigger than a Mini Yorkshire Terrier" in her drain last Wednesday, October 24.

The 47-year-old had contacted Epsom and Ewell Council and Rosebery Housing Association to get it removed but was told nothing could be done to remove it that evening.

She said: "There’s a large rat swimming around the drain.  I think it’s slowly dying because it’s stuck there. 

"I love rats, but clearly this is not a pet and I’m absolutely petrified of it.  I’m worried it might come upstairs."

But three hours later, she got a further shock when her brave brother, who had come round to help, pulled it out with his hands - only to discover the animal was a traumatised hedgehog.

Ms Rodgers said: "I thought it was on its last legs as it was bleeding and shaking so I wrapped it in some towels and put in a dog cage in the corner of the living room.

"I covered the cage with a sheet and put some chicken in the cage, which it didn’t want to eat.

"A few hours later my husband came home and said he could hear it moving.  I lifted up the sheet and I couldn’t see it in the cage and the chicken had been eaten too.

"It had escaped and was walking round the room.  We put it back in the cage and went out into the garden where it just walked off.  It was like nothing was wrong with it.

"It had been down the drain for three hours at least which I knew of. I didn’t think it could have survived that.

"It’s like it had a rest, had something to eat and then off it went.

"The next day the council’s pest control people turned up saying they were here about the rat.

"In the end it all turned out good."