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Bald baby hedgehog abandoned by mother


 

Bald baby hedgehog abandoned by mother

A bald baby hedgehog is being nursed back to full prickliness after being abandoned by its mother when it was born with almost no spikes.

 

Baldrick the hedgehog

Baldrick the hedgehog Photo: IMAGES INTERNATIONAL

The four-month-old creature, named Baldrick, was bald apart from a few prickles when he was found in a garden in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

He is now being looked after by John and Tonia Garner at Foxy Lodge Wildlife Rescue.

Mr Garner, 50, who is a signaller for Network Rail, said Baldrick, who was named after Blackadder’s unlucky sidekick, is very unusual.

"He’s a bit of a rarity," he said. "We’ve had 45 hedgehogs altogether, but he’s the first one without any spikes."

Hedgehogs’ wrinkly bodies normally have around 500 spikes, which protect them from predators and the elements and keep them warm. Until he grows spikes, Mr Garner said releasing Baldrick would be "pointless".

Mr Garner added: "There’s no way he would survive if he was released now. It would be like releasing a polar bear which has just been shorn like a sheep into the North Pole."

Each day, the Garners clean Baldrick using antiseptic scrub and massage baby oil into his body to soften up his skin. They hope making his skin softer will allow spikes to come through.

Mr Garner said Baldrick, one of 22 hedgehogs currently being looked after by him and his wife, was a bit of a character.

"Baldrick loves mealworms," he said. "As a treat, he gets more than his fair share and would jump through a hoop for one. You go into his room and he will go up to the edge of the cage and put his paw up. He’s not satisfied until he gets a few mealworms. He’s quite a character."

He believes Baldrick was abandoned by his mother when he was just weeks old.

He said: "I think the mother suspected he would not survive and they’re quite ruthless in the wild. If one of the babies is not keeping up it will be abandoned.

"Luckily, Baldrick was found, otherwise he would have been dead a long time ago."

When the hedgehog was brought to Foxy Lodge at the age of about six weeks he weighed 240g, but is now up to about 800g.

The animal sanctuary was only started up by Mr and Mrs Garner in May and has had just under 180 animals through its doors, including a lamb, bats, seagulls, barn owls and a kestrel.

www.telegraph.co.uk

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November 5, 2009 - Posted by | Animals, Entertainement, nature, Weird

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