June 19 2013 Latest news:
By Amie Keeley
Monday, March 4, 2013
AN ANIMAL sanctuary in north Essex has welcomed a very unusual prickly addition to their cohort of creatures.
A rare albino hedgehog - with pure white spikes red eyes - is being cared for by staff at Mistley Place Park.
His colouring is down to a rare genetic defect which affects very few hedgehogs where they are born without pigment.
Aged just four months old, he has been named Extra by Park owners Mike and Maureen Taylor because he is the second African pygmy hedgehog they have rescued.
One-year-old Elsie, who has pepperpot spikes, was taken in earlier last year.
The pair are now enjoying living with Mr and Mrs Taylor in their home.
Unlike conventional hedgehogs, the African pygmy breed needs to live indoors in the warm.
Mrs Taylor said: “We get exotic animals in all the time from people who don’t realise the amount of care that goes into looking after them.
“These hedgehogs have to be kept in warm temperatures so they live with us in our house. We have a big cage for them each and they like to run around on the floor. They’re very active and very sweet.”