Two young hedgehogs ready for hibernation will soon be set free in the Sheffield countryside.
Staff from the Tropical Butterfly House, in North Anston, will soon release ‘Fluffy’ and ‘Pringle,’ who they rescued four weeks ago.
Animal presenter and team leader, Heather Scott, said: “I found Fluffy in the grounds and knew something was wrong because he didn’t ball himself up as I approached. On closer inspection we realised he was laden with ticks and noticeably underweight.
“Pringle was brought to us when he was he was just one week old and we believe his mother may have been run over. He was alone and so young that he was still deaf, blind and needed two-hourly feeds 24 hours a day.”
Staff removed Fluffy’s ticks and nursed both hedgehogs to health, feeding them on a diet of cat and dog food, cat biscuits and live mealworms, supplemented with a multivitamin.
Today Fluffy and Pringle are both a picture of health and almost ready to begin their hibernation period, which will start in November and last until March.
They will be placed in a safe outdoor run at the Butterfly House next week, where they’ll remain for 10 days to allow them to readjust to life in the wild.
Heather added: “It’s really important that hedgehogs don’t become tame so, whilst they are both very cute, it’s been vital that we treat them like wild animals and keep handling of them to a minimum.
“Even in hibernation, when their heart rate drops from around 190 beats per minute to just 20, hedgehogs will tuck in their heads and curl tighter into a ball if they are disturbed, with their spines acting as a successful deterrent to predators, and it was important they retain that instinct.”
For information on what to do if you find a young animal in need of assistance, visit www.butterflyhouse.co.uk