Somerset

Rare blond hedgehog released into wild

Burt the blonde hedgehog Image copyright Secret World Wildlife Rescue
Image caption Treated for ringworm, Burt was due to be released last autumn but had "other plans" according the Somerset wildlife rescue centre

A rare blond hedgehog found severely ill and "covered in diarrhoea" has been released back into the wild.

The unusual hog, named Burt, was admitted to the Secret World Wildlife Rescue at the end of September.

Burt, who was treated for ringworm, was due to be released in autumn but had "other plans", carer Trudi Howell said.

"He went into hibernation so spent the winter in our hedgehog hotel," she said. He has now been released at a secret location.

Described as one of the centre's "more unusual residents", the sick hedgehog was originally handed into a vet in Worle by a member of the public.

"He was covered in diarrhoea and very poorly," said Ms Howell.

"But he responded really well to his treatment.

"And now that the weather is mild enough, he is ready to return to the wild."

The centre said it would continue to feed the hog in the area where he was released until "he is able to fend for himself once again".

Image copyright Secret World Wildlife Rescue
Image caption Blonde or leucistic hedgehogs are usually only found on Alderney in the Channel Islands

"I have found the perfect release site for Burt but we are keeping it a secret," said Ms Howell.

"As he is a bit of an unusual hog, we want to avoid him getting too much interest from the public which could compromise his welfare."

Blond or leucistic hedgehogs are usually only found on Alderney in the Channel Islands where they became common after a pair were released in the 1960s.

Their creamy-coloured spines are caused by a rare recessive gene.

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