Snowball is a rare albino hedgehog, with a small problem - He loves to eat! So much so, that the tiny creature's weight has 'snowballed', tipping the scales at 1.5kg (3.3lbs), or about three times the weight of a normal hedgehog.
Luckily the spiny mammal, who has apparently been stuffing himself with dog food left outside homes, is getting some help.
A concerned citizen, checked him into Tiggywinkes wildlife hospital in Buckhinghamshire, where he has been placed, on a strict diet and exercise program!
Each morning, the chubby hedgehog is taken to the center's hydrotherapy pool, where he 'swims' for exercise. As for food, Snowball is now relegated to eating low-fat kitten biscuits, instead of the yummy rich dog food he loves to gorge on. This strict regime is sure helping - for he has already lost 38grams of his excess fat,
The hospital plans on keeping him there until the summer, after which, they will release the slimmed down critter, to a protected area for albino hedgehogs - where there is hopefully no dog food!
Albino hedgehogs, born without melanin pigment in their skin, eyes or spikes, are a rare breed, with only one in 10,000 born with this condition. While normal hedgehogs have a lifespan of between 4-7 years. albinos are vulnerable, because of their lack of color, which makes them east to spot by predators- At least Snowball will not have that problem!
sources:telegraph.co.uk. wikipedia.org, mirror.co.uk