Hedgehog that ballooned to size of football 'deflated' by rescuers in Gloucestershire

Credit: Wild Hogs Hedgehog Rescue

A hedgehog that ballooned to the size of a football because of an infection has been 'deflated' by rescuers and is being nursed back to health in Gloucestershire.

Bounce, as it has now been named, was found in a field near Quedgeley after the animal was spotted by a passenger on a nearby bus on Monday 15 April.

Gas had been collecting under the hedgehog's skin meaning it had inflated to twice its normal size.

Wild Hogs Hedgehog Rescue said Bounce had 'balloon syndrome', which happens when a bacterial infection gets underneath the skin.

Emily Harper, manager at Wild Hogs Hedgehog Rescue explained: "We had a call on Monday to say that a man on a bus had seen a hedgehog, which was a little odd seeing as the hedgehog was in the field and they're usually quite difficult to spot from above.

"We didn't have a very good location for her, but thankfully a dog walker spotted her and brought her in on Tuesday (16th April).

"We immediately deflated her because she was so big, her skin was so tight. She couldn't curl up, she couldn't walk because her legs were trapped.

Bounce is now being nursed back to health by Wild Hogs Hedgehog Rescue. Credit: Wild Hogs Hedgehog Rescue

"We took her to the vets. We could see some blood on her head. There are lots of things that can cause balloon syndrome, so we wanted to make sure she was checked over.

"We think she had a wound that became infected. The skin had healed over, but hedgehogs have a unique structure where they have skin, a gap, and then their muscular skeletal structure underneath.

"When that becomes infected, the wound releases gas, and if its trapped, the hedgehog expands.

"It can also be caused by respiratory issues, but in this case her X-rays were clear."

Emily said that Bounce's size was shocking and the centre only sees a case like this around once a year.

She added: "We take in around five hundred hedgehogs a year and maybe only see around one like this.

"What we do see this time of year is everyone going out and cutting their grass and lots of hedgehogs being injured by strimmers.

"We've had three hedgehogs in over the last two weeks and they've all been fatal.

"So we ask everyone to really be careful."

The rescue centre plans to keep Bounce in its care for another few weeks, before hopefully rereleasing her back into the wild, near where she was found.

They've launched a fundraising page to help with the cost of her care.