The hedgehog inflated to twice his size after a severe case of ‘Balloon Syndrome’ - but is now on the mend after its prickly ordeal.
The animal was spotted by a member of the public going round in circles, in Toll Bar on June 5.
She told the RSPCA that the large hedgehog was dragging his back leg and had blood on his nose.
But when RSPCA inspector Sandra Dransfield arrived at the scene, she could see that the animal was suffering from the rare condition ‘Balloon Syndrome’*, when gas collects under the skin of the hedgehog, so it inflates like a balloon.
The syndrome can be caused by a traumatic event, like an injury, or underlying infection, which releases gas into the cavity under the hedgehog’s skin.
He was taken to the RSPCA’s Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre, in Nantwich, Cheshire, where he was put under general anaesthetic to have the air released.
Since then, staff at the wildlife centre have been keeping a close eye on the hedgehog, who has been nicknamed Monty after the Montgolfier brothers who invented the hot air balloon.
Lee Stewart, manager at Stapeley Grange, said if Monty continued to improve then he could be released back in the wild in two to three weeks’ time. He said: “He is doing well, he is putting on weight and eating well. He is eating cat food, mealworms and dry hedgehog biscuits.
“You can certainly tell the difference between what he was like when he first came in, compared to what he is like now.
“It is rare that we get hedgehogs with Balloon Syndrome, particularly this severe, so it has been interesting to watch his progress. It will be great to see him returned to the wild.”