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The world's fattest hedgehog??


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Four times his proper weight, George the 5lb hedgehog goes on a crash diet


Last updated at 23:32pm on 13th November 2007 commentIconSm.gif Comments (10)

He is not so much a hedgehog as a football with spines.

This globular creature arrived at a wildlife sanctuary weighing an astonishing 5lb - the same as a small baby and four times what he should be.

He was handed in because the owner of the garden where he lived thought he must be ill.

But tests confirmed that there is nothing medically wrong with him --he's just a little greedy pig.

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hedgehog1SOLENT_468x309.jpgPuffed up and pudgy: George (middle) and two normal-sized friends



He is so fat that when he eventually sheds the excess weight vets may have to give him a tummy tuck to remove the excess skin.


Staff at the Wildlife Aid centre in Leatherhead, Surrey, have placed him on a controlled diet of cat food in the hope of bringing him down to his ideal weight of 1lb 5oz within six months.


Sara Cowen, the centre's head nurse. said: "He was brought in to us a few months ago and we were able to re-home him with a member of the public.


"Now he has been brought back in to us because he has got so big that the owner thought he was ill.

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hedgehog2SOLENT_468x432.jpgOff the scale: Obese George is weighed




"We looked at him and thought that maybe he was suffering from a condition called 'ballooning' - but after we checked him out we found that he was just obese.


"He's the size of a football and weighs about four times what he should weigh.


"I think that he was a bit of a terror in the garden he lived in, just shuffling around, eating anything he could find.


"He hasn't hibernated either because he has that much fat on him that he isn't cold - his body isn't telling him that it's time to hibernate.


"We are planning to put him on a slow weight loss programme that we are expecting will take around six months.


"We will be feeding him cat food but just much less of it.


"He will also need to get more exercise - we might need to find the world's smallest treadmill for him."

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hedgehogSOLENT_468x270.jpgCrash diet: George needs to lose 3/4 of his body weight



Ms Cowen says that obesity in hedgehogs can bring about the same health problems as it can in humans.


She added: "His weight is a big problem. He could suffer fractures to his legs with the extra weight and he could have heart problems.


"I've never seen anything like it before so it's going to be new territory for us trying to put together a programme for him to help him lose the fat.


"He will probably be with us for six months before we will look at putting him through a slow release back into the wild.


"Even then he might need some more help - if he has excess skin left then he might even need a tummy tuck."

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