World's fattest hedgehog begins diet


An overweight hedgehog - which experts believe could be the fattest in the world - has been put on a strict diet.

Weighing in at 5lbs (2.3kg) Arbuckle struggles to walk or roll into a defensive ball after overeating during the winter.

The creature was handed into The New Arc, an animal rescue centre in Ellon, Aberdeenshire, on Tuesday evening.

The team there have put him on a low calorie diet after admitting they had never seen a hedgehog so large.

They said it was the heaviest hedgehog they could find a record of.

The centre's Keith Marley said: "He was handed in by a young man who had been looking after him over the winter.

"It's fair to say this chap had been doing it a bit too enthusiastically. When he went to realise it, the hedgehog wouldn't go.

"He put it down to him being reluctant to leave, but in actual fact Arbuckle can't really move very well on the grass, he's so fat.

"He gave us a shout and we were rather surprised. We've looked on the internet and we have found nothing as extreme as this case."

Mr Marley said he was not aware of what the young hedgehog had been feeding on - or how much - to get to its size.

He said: "I think Arbuckle probably ate everything that came his way.

"Most people feed them anything from cat food to boiled eggs, to you name it.

"Our background has been helping hedgehogs put on weight, not trying to take it off them, so it's a bit unusual."

The animal - named after silent film star Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle - will be fed low calorie dried biscuits which will keep him feeling full but will avoid him piling on any more weight.

Mr Marley said: "He'll get a limited amount of food each day and it will be scattered around his cage so that he has to exercise to get it, as opposed to waddling along to his bowl and helping himself and then going back to sleep again.

"If you are looking after a hedgehog for an extended period of time, I suggest you keep an eye on its weight and consult with local wildlife rescue to see if it's following the right direction.

"If this gentleman had made contact with us at an earlier stage we would have been able to tell him, 'look he's overweight now, just cut back'."