We have had reports for some time of albino hedgehogs living in the Alton area but it was still a surprise to see one much paler hoglet among a litter of three hoglets. On closer examination it was obvious by his red eyes, very pale feet and (off) white fur that it was in fact an albino. All three had been picked up from a garden in Alton after being found and hassled by an interested dog. They weighed just over 200g on October 13 and were taken into the hospital because at that weight they had little chance of surviving over winter.
The albino hoglet actually weighed more than its siblings on admission (227g as opposed to 203g and 206g). However, it started to lose weight soon after. Its first faecal sample was clear so no medications were given – more tempting food was offered including live meal worms, universal and puppy food. The hoglet still continued to eat less than we would have liked but started to gain weight again slowly. A second sample was taken after it produced abnormal faeces on November 11 and live lung worm larvae were found. After a course of panacur (worm treatment) the hoglet began to gain weight much more rapidly and started clearing his food bowl each night.
He is now a healthy adult hog, but a difficult choice has had to be made about his future.
Although we are loathed to keep a healthy animal in captivity there are concerns about his ability to survive in the wild. He may be more susceptible to predation, have a weaker immune system than his siblings, and his eyesight may affect his ability to avoid predators and hunt.
After consultation with many other wildlife rescues it is obvious that opinion is divided on what the best course of action would be. Many rescues suggested keeping him and involving him in education programmes, talks etc, as he has been handled since being a small hog and is used to human contact. Therefore we have decided to build a specialised enclosure for him so that we could provide him with the best environment possible in which to spend his nights and ensure that his quality of life is as good as we can make it. This will be his home until a better option can be found for him, and so we are now fundraising to build this. Click here to donate if you would like to help with this, or donate by text - just text HOME53 followed by the amount you would like to donate to 70070!
You can even become his friend on facebook to follow his adventures: Click here to see Albi's facebook!