'Popped' balloon syndrome hedgehog released back into wild

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The hedgehog before and afterImage source, RSPCA
Image caption,
The hedgehog had grown so large it was unable to place all four paws on the floor

A hedgehog that became inflated to twice its size has been returned to the wild after being "popped" in Cheshire.

The hedgehog, known as Monty, was diagnosed with "balloon syndrome" - a rare condition caused by gas collecting under the skin.

He was treated at Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre in Nantwich after being found in Doncaster.

An inspector said the hedgehog's condition was "the worst" she had ever seen.

Staff at the centre named him "Monty" after the Montgolfier brothers who invented the hot air balloon.

They cared for him for several weeks before releasing him in July where he was found.

Lee Stewart, manager at the centre, said: "It's always great when we're able to successfully rehabilitate an animal and release them back into the wild, that's the whole point of the work we do here."

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Due to his condition, Monty had been unable to walk and could not get all four paws on the ground at the same time - which meant he ended up walking round in circles.

RSPCA inspector Sandra Dransfield said: "He was very vulnerable. He couldn't even tuck his head in. It was the worst case of balloon syndrome I've ever seen."

Image source, RSPCA
Image caption,
Monty was named after the inventors of the hot air balloon

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