4 min read

Chubby Hedgehog Gets Put On A Diet

The Oak and Furrows Wildlife Rescue Centre, based in the U.K., recently received nine hedgehogs, but the "Big One" is quickly becoming the most famous of all.

It's easy to see how the Big One differs from his other prickly companions. While a normal hedgehog should weigh somewhere between 1.3 to 1.9 pounds, the rescue told The Dodo, the Big One arrived weighing a whopping 4 pounds.

Oak and Furrows Wildlife Rescue Centre

"We collected nine hedgehogs just over a week ago from a lovely lady who has been caring for them, completely out of her own pocket and pension, over the winter, but had become concerned they were all developing a skin condition or mange and was not sure how best to treat them," Chrissy Ball, an administrator at the rescue, told The Dodo.

"We offered to visit and take them on to ease the burden from this well-meaning, kind and generous lady," Ball said. "When we arrived, we clearly saw the hogs were all very well cared for in very clean condition and had been eating like kings and queens. The hogs were so well-fed on all of their favorite treats, including chicken liver pate and baby rice, that the only problem they were suffering from was being too plump."

Oak and Furrows Wildlife Rescue Centre

As cute as the idea of a chubby li'l hedgehog may seem, the type of weight gain like the Big One has experienced is unhealthy for his body type, Ball said. Because these hedgehogs, like the Big One, are overweight, it makes it harder for them to curl up into defensive balls, which means that if they were placed back out into the wild like that, they would be more vulnerable to predators.

The rescue has now placed all of the hedgehogs on a strict, balanced diet with the addition of antibiotics and vitamin supplements, Ball said. In addition to their diet, the hedgehogs have been placed into large enclosures to give them plenty of room to run around and burn off some extra calories.

Oak and Furrows Wildlife Rescue Centre

"The weight is already coming off," Ball said. "They will be ready to be released once they are able to curl up properly and the weather has improved."

This just goes to show that hedgehogs are just like the rest of us - entirely capable of packing on the pounds ... and then hitting the "gym" to lose them.