SCOTLAND’S heaviest hedgehog is on a diet after she munched her way to five times normal weight – and became too fat to curl up.
The monster hog hit an astonishing 2.3kgs (5lbs) last month – despite weighing barely 400 grammes when she was rescued last autumn.
The hedgehog – called Edinburgh after the place where she was rescued – thrived on a diet of dried mealworms and cat food three times a day at her new home in Fife.
But Sandy Boyd, who runs the care centre in Wormit, Fife, decided it was time to put her on a diet when she became too big for their normal scales.
Edinburgh’s belly is so podgy she cannot curl up into a defensive ball, meaning release into the wild is off the agenda until she slims down.
Her diet started in May and initial results are good with Edinburgh down to “just” 2.07kgs on Wednesday this week.
But that is still four times the 500g average for a hedgehog and Edinburgh is set to hibernate again this winter at the Wormit Hedgehog Care Centre.
She was found wandering the streets of Edinburgh during broad daylight last November, weighing a pitiful 415g.
A kind-hearted member of the public found her, telephoned Sandy, and drove the months-old hedgehog to Wormit.
Sandy admits his recovery regime may have been too successful.
The 74-year-old said: “I went to weigh her on the ordinary scales which go up to two KGs but when I put her on them they just wouldn’t work.”
She now gets one “hamster dish” a day of dried mealworms and cat food.
Sandy added: “I’ll get her into the outside run and see if she loses some weight.
“I’ve cut down on the amount of meal worms she’s getting but the weight’s not coming off very fast.
“Hopefully with a wee bit of exercise we can get her down to below 2kg’s.”
Sandy believes he may have the heaviest hog in the UK and not just Scotland.
He said: “I’ve been doing this for 19 years and I’ve seen some big ones but never as big as Edinburgh.
“I know the last big one was found down south but I know that our little one weighs even more.”
Reports of the heaviest hedgehog surfaced in 2009 when a young female called “Huff Puff” weighed in at 2.04kg’s in Herefordshire.
Sandy and his wife, Alice, 70, have been running the shelter for 19 years, caring for the creatures until they can be released into the wild.
Sandy says he is concerned by the scarcity of hedgehogs this year, receiving 15 so far this year compared with 30 most years.
He believes competition from badgers and ever-increasing road traffic are among the factors.
Experts believe there may be fewer than a million hedgehogs left in the UK compared with 36 million in the 1950s.