Earlier this month, a six-month-old hedgehog that lived in the wild was found in the most curious condition by a passerby. The hedgehog is known for their prickly appearance for the hundreds of spines that line the skin on their back. However, this hedgehog, later named Pumpkin, was completely without his spiky mane. This leaves him not only significantly less adorable, but also easy prey for predators.
The kind folks of Prickles Hedgehog Rescue in Cheddar, England were called and quickly picked Pumpkin up. Seeing a hedgehog without spikes and still alive is a rare sight, but at the hedgehog rescue, Pumpkin was diagnosed with a bacterial skin infection that caused them to fall out.
Prickles Hedgehog Rescue volunteer June Fitzgibbon who is overseeing Pumpkin's care and administering antibiotics stated, "We've had hedgehogs missing some quills, but never one that’s been completely bald. We think he’s just beginning to grow some new ones, now that he’s being treated. He’s responding to it very well."
It will take quite a while for Pumpkin's quills to grow back, after which he can be returned to the wild, but until then the rescue intends on keeping him cozy and safe at their facility.
This is a major win for the Prickles Hedgehog Rescue. Every hog they rescue is of the utmost importance. The iconic British species may be becoming big as pets, but in the wild they have suffered a major decline in recent years due to their slow ability to cross roads and destruction of habitat. In fact, many studies of the creature predict them to be wiped out in the United Kingdom by 2025.
The rescue believes Pumpkin will be ready to be released back into the wild by the spring. They intend to return him right to where he was found with a back full of healthy quills, but until then, he'll spend the winter wrapped up all cozy and warm in a blanket through the winter, much like the rest of us.