Hedgehog takes a bath

Hydrotherapy helps a hedgehog to recover.

Swimming-Phelps_623-ac48cd2

Phelps the hedgehog undergoing hydrotherapy © Scottish SPCA

Advertisement

In November 2017, a hedgehog that was unable to move its hind legs came into the care of the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

A vet at the Scottish SPCA’s National Wildlife Rescue Centre recommended physiotherapy to help the hedgehog regain its strength, but this presented the centre with an interesting dilemma.

Hedgehogs curl up when scared, which would make it difficult for the team to provide treatment, so they came up with a watery solution.

“We decided to place him in a shallow bath of water,” says centre manager Colin Seddon. “He was closely supervised, and was able to build up strength in his hind legs without having to bear any weight.”

Phelps20with20Nicola20Turnbull_623-511ce1b

Phelps was supervised by Nicola Turnball, head of small mammals at the centre, whilst in the shallow bath © Scottish SPCA 

The hedgehog, named Phelps after the Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, made a full recovery and was released in early April into a garden in the Angus area.

Prior to release, Phelps was microchipped so he can be identified if he comes back into the care of a wildlife charity in the future.

“All our hedgehogs will be microchipped before being released this year,” continues Seddon. “This will give us important feedback on how well they have integrated back into the wild and how long they have survived.”

Advertisement

Read more wildlife news in BBC Wildlife Magazine. Take a look inside the current issue, and find out how to subscribe