Meet Baldrick, the bald hedgehog

“I have a cunning plan,” says Baldrick the bald hedgehog. And let's hope his carers have one too - for the creature stands no chance on the outside without his armour of spines.

“I have a cunning plan,” says Baldrick the bald hedgehog. And let's hope his carers have one too - for the creature stands no chance on the outside without his armour of spines.

Baldrick, named after Blackadder's idiot sidekick because of his lack of prickles, is one of 20 hedgehogs being looked after at Foxy Lodge, a Hemsby wildlife hospital.

But while the others are doing well and recovering from their various knocks, Baldrick's condition took a turn for the worse when the tiny hairs that were showing through stopped growing and fell out.

John Garner, who runs Foxy Lodge with his wife Tonia, said baldness was extremely unusual in hedgehogs, their wrinkly bodies normally concealed by around 500 protective spikes.


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“What has happened to him is very rare,” Mr Garner said. “He had a condition called mange which he is completely cured of but his spikes just will not grow. He is a lovely little thing but he has no spikes at all. He is one of this year's youngsters and we have had him for six or seven weeks but he cannot go back out there without them.”

Of the 20 other hedgehogs, four are ready for release and 16 remain in the nursery and may overwinter in their Newport Road home. Many are orphans, found wandering among the bodies of their relatives on the road. Adding to hedgehog hitches was the warm summer's second litter whose offspring are now facing a race against time to get big enough to hibernate.

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The hospital, funded by donations, has cared for a range of wildlife and currently has four squirrels and a seagull on its wards.

Meanwhile Mr Garner urged people to build bonfires on the day they are to be lit rather than in advance and to check them thoroughly to prevent hedgehog deaths.

The hospital welcomes all donations, particularly of hutches. Call - 01493 384237.

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