Tiny African pygmy hedgehog dies after being dumped in Mansfield
A tiny pygmy African hedgehog found dumped in Mansfield has sadly died after it was found struggling to survive in the cold.
The non-native creature was put to sleep by a vet despite the best efforts of a dedicated animal welfare centre in Mansfield Woodhouse.
Also known as a four-toed hedgehog, the male creature had been handed in to the Mansfield Wildlife Centre after it was found in undergrowth on Friday.
It is thought it may have been someone’s pet but, due to having complex health issues, had been released into the wild to fend for itself.
The African pygmy hedgehog's natural habitat is the steppes, savanna and grassy areas of west, central and east Afric a. They are solitary, nocturnal animals and need to be kept in a warm environment.
They are imported to the UK as pets and cost around £180.
But Cheryl Martins, who runs the animal sanctuary from her home on Brown Avenue where the hedgehog was initially taken, has urged folk to ‘do their research before buying exotic pets’.
“When he came in he was severely dehydrated and hungry but we needed to find out exactly what he was as the care of African pygmy hedgehogs is very different to our normal British hedgehogs,” she said.
"He had to be put to sleep as it was paralysed on its back legs. It seems it may have been dumped because of its medical needs. It was found in the wild struggling to fend for itself, freezing cold, starved and dehydrated.
"It makes me so angry as it was only about 16 weeks old and there is absolutely no excuse to dump an animal when there are plenty of rescues out there who would have willingly helped.
"I had only had him for an hour and booked him straight into the vets as I knew something wasn't right with him. It is the first case in a while I've actually cried over.
"The poor little thing was just left to die slow and painfully. These creatures need constant heat, much like reptiles, so even if he was otherwise healthy he wouldn't have stood a chance in our climate.
"I would urge people to do their research before buying exotic pets.”
- For information about African pygmy hedgehogs, go to https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/other/africanpygmyhedgehogs.