JUL 30, 2017 7:21 AM PDT

Scottish SPCA Rescues and Treats a Beach Ball-Sized Hedgehog

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Hedgehogs are typically small animals, growing to just 5-12 inches long. Astonishingly, however, one specimen found in Lanarkshire, Scotland last weekend could be compared to the size of a beach ball.

A Scottish SPCA team member holds the 'ballooned' hedgehog up for a photo.

Image Credit: Scottish SPCA/Facebook

The Scottish SPCA rescued the hedgehog after its unusual size gave it away in the wild. The animal, which was named Zepplin by Scottish SPCA staff, remains in the organization’s possession at the National Wildlife Rescue Center located in Fishcross, Scotland. 

It was perhaps the perfect name for the animal; its large size upon discovery was caused by a condition known as ‘balloon syndrome.’

Experts say a punctured lung during a motor vehicle interaction may have caused the odd result. The hole in the lung would have allowed air to escape into the rest of the body and accumulate under the skin.

The synopsis became evident from the moment the creature was picked up from the ground. You would expect such a large hedgehog to weigh a lot, but since the animal was air-filled, it was much lighter than anticipated.

X-ray images, like the one below, revealed just how small the creature’s internal organs appear to be when compared to the inflated body:

X-ray images illustrate just how large the hedgehog's body became after 'ballooning.'

Image Credit: Scottish SPCA/Facebook

After placing Zepplin under the influence of an anesthetic, experienced veterinarians managed to surgically ‘pop’ the balloon and release the excess air.

Had the animal continued to swell, the skin could have ruptured on its own, causing further health concerns for the animal. With that in mind, performing the procedure was the right move.

“Our Animal Rescue Officer Louise Hume got a bit of a shock when she went to pick him up. He’s certainly one of the largest hedgehogs we’ve taken into our care,” Scottish SPCA center manager Colin Seddon explained in a statement.

“He’s been seen by our vet Romain, who is hopeful that Zepplin – now deflated- will make a full recovery.”

As it would appear, the surgery went well, and Zepplin should be on the road to recovery. He will remain in the organization’s care for a while longer to ensure good health and to keep infections from arising.

It wasn't the first time someone found an inflated hedgehog, and it probably won’t be the last. Just last month, a similar situation occurred in England:

You might also like: Sri Lankan Navy rescues an elephant that got lost at sea

If you happen to find a ballooned hedgehog or another animal in distress, you’re urged to contact your local animal care center to get rescue crews and treatment out there to help it.

Source: Scottish SPCA

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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