A hedgehog which was unable to use its hind legs has been given SWIMMING LESSONS so it can get back on its feet.
The tiny critter was named Phelps after retired competitive swimmer and decorated Olympian Michael Phelps.
The juvenile male was discovered curled up outside at the end of last year when animal welfare workers realised he was unable to use his legs properly.
He has been given hydrotherapy by staff from the Scottish SPCA to help build up his weak hind legs whilst not having him bear weight.
Colin Seddon, manager of the charity’s National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Fishcross, Clackmannanshire, said: “Phelps arrived into our care back in November and once he uncurled we realised that he was unable to use his hind legs.
“Our vet advised physiotherapy and because hedgehogs curl up when scared, we decided to place him in a shallow bath of water.
“He was closely supervised by Nicola Turnbull, our head of small mammals, and was able to build up strength in his hind legs without having to bear any weight.
“We continued his treatment over a seven day period and gradually Phelps regained the use of his hind legs and should be ready for release once the weather gets warmer.”
Colin added: “We would be particularly concerned if a hedgehog is out during the day at this time of year and would urge anyone who finds one to call our animal helpline so we can come and collect it.
“They should try to contain it by picking it up using gardening gloves or a thick towel and placing it in a secure box.
“It can then be left with fresh water and tinned cat food until we arrive.
“Hedgehogs will struggle in the cold, so if anyone spots one during the freezing winter weather they should call us immediately.”
The charity has urged anyone who discovers an injured or distressed wild animal to contact them on the animal helpline on 03000 999 999.
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