A rare baby albino hedgehog found dangerously underweight is being nursed back to health by rescuers - the third of its kind to come into the care of a North Yorkshire wildlife orphanage.
Hedgehogs are primarily nocturnal but the youngster, which has been given the name ‘Jericho’, was found out in the open during the daytime by a Selby resident.
Albino hedgehogs have white spines and pink eyes, snout and paws. Their stark appearance is caused by a rare genetic disorder and makes them a distinctive target for predators.
Annette Pyrah’s Wildlife Orphanage in Barlby is caring for Jericho, who weighed just 88g when he was found, and he is one of several albino species to have been admitted.
Ms Pyrah said: “We’re like an albino magnet. We’ve had an albino dove, a bat, a mallard duckling and hedgehogs.
“However, baby Jericho is the tiniest albino we have admitted. He was in a dreadful state. Huge ticks had attached themselves to him and he was very dehydrated. We worked round the clock to save him.”
Three years ago, Ms Pyrah admitted her first albino hedgehog which grew into a large male and was released locally.
And just last year she took in a small female who she named Twinkle. Found in the same area as the first albino hedgehog, Ms Pyrah believed Twinkle to be his daughter. She too was nursed back to strength and released.
Before animals are released into the wild, Ms Pyrah said she checks release sites for habitat suitability. Twinkle was released in a large garden in a village near York. Motion cameras pick up her nightly activities and she has amassed a huge following on Twitter via @WildlifeOrphan1.
Ms Pyrah said her latest patient was on the mend.
“Once Jericho has reached a good weight he will be returned to the wild. Presently he is enjoying life in our wild, pre-release area, which re-acclimatises our hedgehogs to outdoor living following a period of care in our wildlife cabin.”