Hedgehog Who Lost All His Spines Looks So Different Now
He gets daily massages to help him heal ❤️️
In January, a woman out in her garden Shropshire, England, spotted a discarded leather ball in the grass.
Upon closer inspection, she realized the “ball” was, in fact, a naked little animal in need of her help. His appearance was so strange, however, that she couldn’t figure out what kind of animal she had on her hands, and assumed he was some sort of rat.
When she brought him to nearby Cuan Wildlife Rescue, an employee at the front desk identified the mysterious little creature as a young hedgehog. Nobody had ever seen anything like him before, including the center’s manager, Fran Hill.
“I couldn’t believe it when I saw him for the first time,” Hill told The Dodo. “I’d seen hogs with 30 to 40 percent spine loss but he was [at] about 97 percent!”
The hedgehog’s dry skin was covered in mites, and he was clearly starving. The irritating little bugs turned out to be the key to his uniquely bald appearance.
“It’s likely he went into hibernation with a small infestation of ear mites,” Hill said. “During his slumber they had covered him, causing huge irritation to his skin. Along with the dehydration and massive weight loss while sleeping the mites had taken hold.”
After a meal of cat food and an antifungal bath to soothe his skin, the bald hedgehog was set up in a pen with some soft blankets to keep him warm and cozy.
The rescue does not usually name its patients so they don’t get too attached, but they decided to bend the rules this one time, dubbing him Bear.
Along with helping Bear put on weight, his caretakers have also been giving him spa treatments. His tender skin is massaged with aloe gel daily “to improve blood supply for his spines to grow,” Hill explained.
But Bear has not been entirely grateful for the attention. He would much rather be left alone — especially when it comes time to take his medication.
“Even though he is quite weak he is still quite huffy,” Hill said. “If you want to pick him up, he will take one look at you and curl so tight! A problem when one of his meds is oral! He’s happy for us to watch him and [will] almost pose but no touching.”
“Fast forward to now and his skin is still delicate, being damaged from so much exposure,” Hill added, “so he now has a weekly bath.”
Two months after arriving at the rescue and Bear looks like a whole new hedgehog …
… his spines are slowly growing back, and he’s feeling so much better.
Bear still doesn’t like company — something the rescue workers are glad of as it will make his reintroduction to the wild that much easier.
“Hogs don’t tame, so he is in no way happy to be around people,” Hill said. “He is, however, a lot more comfortable ... He’s eating well too!”
Come warm weather, Bear will be able to get one step closer to being released back into his garden home.
“All we need now is for some good weather and he can move to an enclosure outside,” Hill added.