A hedgehog found in a Sheffield student halls with its spines cut off is now ‘eating for England’ at a South Yorkshire animal sanctuary.
The hedgehog was discovered at a University of Sheffield accommodation block by a maintenance man in the early hours of Saturday.
It was taken to the Cawthorne Hedgehog Rescue And Care Centre in Barnsley, run by Allan Broadhead and his wife Anita.
The terrified hedgehog, named Frank by its carers, spent the first couple of days curled up into a protective ball. But Allan was delighted to report that Frank’s nose had finally emerged, and he was showing an interest in food.
“We could do with a hedgehog nosebag, because he’s eating for England,” said Allan.
“Yesterday he came out of his ball. It was the first time we had seen his face. He’s a bit more relaxed but he’s still terrified.”
The Broadheads said they had never seen a hedgehog in such a ‘state of neglect and deliberate harm’. All of the animal’s spines appear to have been cut off with scissors.
Thankfully none of Frank’s bones are broken, and although he is also suffering from a fungal skin infection, he is now eating and drinking properly. Allan said he was hopeful Frank would make a full recovery and his spines would regrow.
“Hedgehogs do have a horrible way of just turning off and dying,” he said. “It’s common, especially when they have been so traumatised. But I think he’s going to be all right.”
The University of Sheffield said it was trying to find out why the hedgehog was in its accommodation.
The incident has been reported to the RSPCA. A spokesman said: “The RSPCA was called about a hedgehog found near to Sheffield University, and understands that the animal is being cared for a local wildlife organisation.
“We are told the hedgehog has damaged spines, and that a vet has confirmed that this hedgehog is suffering with ringworm - a disease that can sometimes cause hedgehogs’ spines to fall out. However, we cannot rule out a deliberate act of cruelty, so anybody with any information can call us on our inspectors’ appeal line in confidence on 0300 123 8018.”