Newbury veterinary nurse helps Maggot the hedgehog grow his spines back
A juvenile hedgehog that had lost all its spines due to ringworm has been nurtured back to full spikiness by a Falkland Veterinary Clinic nurse.
The young hedgehog was taken to the vet's practice by a concerned member of the public, who spotted him cold and shivering in the wild at Christmas time.
Veterinary nurse Kirstin said: "When he came in he was very poorly. He only weighed about 300gm and we think he is about six months old.
"We realised he had ringworm and unfortunately this made his spines fall out.
"It doesn't always happen, but in this instance he was soon without fur on his face or spines on his back."
Once the ringworm had been treated, Kirstin decided to take him home and let him recover in the warmth and safety of her home.
"We couldn't have let him go back into the wild – without the spines he is vulnerable to predators and would have been very cold in this weather, so I said I would keep him at home," she added.
The nurse named him 'Maggot' after it was suggested by other members of staff that he should have a 'festive name', but perhaps it should not be too pretty or dainty.
"I looked at the lyrics of the Pogues' song Fairytale of New York and thought that Maggot would fit the bill," she said.
Kirstin said it is hard not to spend too much time with Maggot.
"Hedgehogs get friendly very quickly, so you have to avoid getting too attached," she added.
When the spines have all grown back, which Kirstin said could take a few more weeks, Maggot will go to a home with a hedgehog-friendly garden for a 'soft release'.
"He can get used to the outside again and looking after himself in a safe place and then when he seems ready he will be able to leave the garden and go back into the wild as nature intended," she said.