It's not Game Over for a recently rescued "Sonic" hedgehog found covered in blue paint.
The oddly hued hedgehog was spotted – well, actually neither “spotted” nor striped – by a concerned resident of Taunton, Somerset, who happened to be gardening at the time. Obviously it was easy to note something blue in the middle of all that green. The gardener quickly scooped up the azure animal and brought it to the RSPCA West Hatch Wildlife Centre.
“Thankfully she was still alive and is now getting the help she needs,” explained RSPCA animal collection officer (ACO) Clara Scully. "We're unsure what happened to her, whether she was painted intentionally, or if she fell into the paint somehow.” In any case, the critter wasn't just feeling blue, it was looking it as well.
At press time the hedgehog (named “Sonic” after the blue hedgehog of video game fame) is undergoing treatment by trained staff at RSPCA West Hatch. The difficult, labor-intensive process involves carefully removing blue paint from the female hedgehog's multitude of prickly spikes. “Sonic has been eating well and is getting stronger,” reported Dr. Bel Deering, manager at RSPCA West Hatch. “She had to be anesthetized to have the substance removed and there is still a blue tinge on the spines."
“The substance was very rubbery and hard to remove,” added Deering, “It was quite caustic and so where it touched the skin there are some sore patches that will need to be monitored.”
Hedgehogs are frequently seen at RSPCA wildlife centers, with the busiest period for admissions being April through November. Between 2010 and 2016, the centers admitted over 13,000 hedgehogs. That's a lotta hedgehogs!
The RSPCA – the UK's largest and best-known animal welfare charity – is taking this latest incident as an opportunity to remind people to ensure they securely store paint, chemicals and pesticides out of the reach of pets, wildlife and children. Old paint and paint tins can be dangerous as well, and should be disposed of responsibly by taking them to the nearest specialized recycling center. (via ITV and SWNS)