Ashley and Cheryl - the albino hedgehogs

ALBINO hedgehogs are a bit like buses… You don't get one for ages and then two turn up at the same time.

James Hore

ALBINO hedgehogs are a bit like buses… You don't get one for ages and then two turn up at the same time.

That's what has happened at Wildlives animal rescue centre in Thorrington, near Colchester, which is currently looking after Cheryl and Ashley.

Owner Rosie Catford said the chances of finding an albino hedgehog are thousands to one but she took delivery of Ashley as part of a litter of five babies whose mother was presumed dead.

The orphan family were brought in about 10 days ago suffering from severe dehydration and on the brink of death.

They were joined a few days later by a family of three babies, also badly dehydrated, discovered in West Bergholt.

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Amazingly this litter also included an albino.

All of the little hogs were placed on a diet of cat food and milk formula and have been making a speedy recovery.

Unfortunately for Cheryl and Ashley they can never be released into the wild as their colours make them more like to be eaten by predators and they are also more susceptible to disease.

Ms Catford said, “Cheryl is all over the place and Ashley is really quiet.

“We are hoping to place them with somebody who has an enclosed garden so they will be ok there.

“I would say we have a couple of the albinos every year, so to have two at the same time like this is rare.”

She said it had been the centre's busiest ever year thanks to its growing reputation for rescuing and helping injured animals and birds.

Anyone who would like to volunteer at Wildlives should call 01206 251174, but Ms Catford warns they should not be scared of hard work.

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