Last week, a hedgehog was spotted roaming the streets of Toll Bar, in Doncaster, Northern England. A passer by thought the critter to be pregnant because its belly appeared to be bigger than average.
However, upon closer inspection, the spikey creature seemed to be in a state of distress and its nose had some blood on it. The good samaritan didn't think twice about transporting the poor hedgehog to the veterinarian and this selfless act saved the animal's life.
Turns out, the hedgehog was a male and was not pregnant at all.
Sandra Dransfield, a staff member at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) inspected the poor little guy and immediately diagnosed him with "balloon syndrome."
If you aren't familiar with the condition, you aren't in the minority. It's a rare disease that only affects hedgehogs and occurs when "an underlying infection or a traumatic event" creates a gas buildup under the skin.
“It’s the worst case of balloon syndrome I’ve seen,” said Dransfield in a statement. “This poor chap was almost twice its natural size, literally blown up like a beach ball with incredibly taut skin.”
Had the animal not been taken to the RSPCA for observation, he could've suffered from a skin rupture and eventually die from the gas pressure on his internal organs.
Luckily, the disease was caught in the nick of time and the vets were able to perform an emergency surgical procedure to deflate the swelling. He's been put on antibiotics and he is expected to make a full recovery soon.
"He is still under observations but he is doing well and the team are hoping he will make a full recovery so we can return to the wild," said Lee Stewart, manager at RSPCA Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre.
We're so glad the adorable hedgehog is doing better!
[H/T: Yorkshire Post]