A hedgehog who was found in Leeds with her back leg trapped in a mesh fence was saved by vets - before having three BABIES.
The hedgehog, named Tabitha, was saved by a homeowner who recognised she was in pain and took her to White Cross Vets.
X-rays revealed a dislocated hip and severe trauma to the foot, which meant her leg had to be amputated.
She’s now gone to live with White Cross Vets’ client care coordinator, Emily Ong and her parents, who already have experience with hedgehogs.
However, within days of arriving at her new home, the hedgehog family significantly increased in size - when Tabitha gave birth to three babies.
Emily explained: “My parents have been helping hedgehogs for a few years and have released lots back into the wild, so as soon as I saw Tabitha, I knew we could help her. She was clearly distressed and in pain at first and although it’s never nice to see an amputation, it was her best chance of survival, and having a normal life again.
“There’s no doubt she’s a trooper and quickly recovered from the operation. Hedgehogs can survive with only one back leg, but it would be difficult for her in the wild, so we decided to give her a new home, along with another three-legged hedgehog that we’ve recently adopted called Rita.
“However, Tabitha then took us all by surprise when she gave birth to Gordon, named after vet Catherine Gordon, who performed her operation, as well as Heston and Pierre, to continue the chef theme!
"As a result, we now have five hedgehogs, but as soon as the babies have grown to approximately 600g, we’re planning to release them into nearby woodland, which will be an ideal habitat for them.”
In a joint survey conducted last year, The People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and The British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) found that in the past decade over a half of rural hedgehogs, and a third from towns and cities, have been lost.
Emily added: “Sadly hedgehogs face lots of challenges with many struggling to survive and having to travel further to find food, so often they will be underweight. Enclosed gardens that they can’t get in or out of and road traffic are a big problem, but there are things people can do to help.
“Making a CD sized hold in the bottom of fences gives them a route in and out of gardens and they particularly enjoy eating wet dog food and kitten biscuits, so if people see them near their homes, they can leave these out at night. They also drink water but, contrary to popular belief, milk is very bad for them. Anyone who finds an injured or poorly hedgehog should seek help from a vet or hedgehog charity.
“Finally, hedgehogs usually sleep during the day, hibernate in winter and nest with their young in cosy spots, so it’s important to bear this in mind when it comes to clearing garden waste, which can often be a safe haven for them.”
For further information about White Cross Vets visit www.whitecrossvets.co.uk