Prickles and a paunch: Israel's overweight hedgehogs go on diet
Ten overweight hedgehogs found waddling around are brought to the Ramat Gan zoo for a fitness program after they got so fat they couldn't even curl up into a ball to fend off predators; ample food left for stray cats is to blame for hedgehog obesity.
Ten overweight hedgehogs have had to go on strict diets and exercise regimes after they ate so much on the streets of Israel they struggled to curl up into a ball to fend off predators.
Animal lovers found them waddling around and brought them into the hospital Ramat Gan zoo.
Staff there said the hedgehogs had probably been snacking on food left out for stray cats, which is readily available to the hedgehogs in large quantities.
“A lot of people put cat food on the streets for the stray cats, which is very nice but ... the problem is that there’s other wildlife that eats it,” zookeeper Becka Rifkin told Reuters.
One adult male named Sherman was 1.6 kg (3.5 lb) when he arrived at the facility two months ago, almost double the average weight for a hedgehog his age (600-900 grams).
At first, Sherman was put in an enclosure with another hedgehog, but after hogging all the food for himself, he was moved to his own place.
He has since lost 120 grams after staff monitored his diet and left him to run around an enclosure.
The zoo staff hope they will be able to release him by the summer.