Bear was found wandering around an English garden when he should've been hibernating
Bear is bare.
According to Fran, the manager of Cuan Wildlife Rescue in Much Wenlock, England, the bald hedgehog was found wandering in a woman’s garden during the day when he should’ve been hibernating.
Obviously in need of help, Bear was taken to Cuan Wildlife Rescue, which is currently caring for over 150 animals including owls, swans, hedgehogs, ducks and more.
“On arrival he was crawling with ear mites which clearly had taken a hold of him, probably during hibernation,” Fran told PEOPLE of Bear’s initial condition.
Fran believes that Bear woke during his hibernation and was so distressed by his bad case of mites — and the discomfort the pests caused him — that he dropped his spines. The situation was made worse by the serious skin irritation caused by the mites.
“His skin was so irritated and very dry, almost crispy,” Fran said.
To help heal Bear, the rescue first gave the hedgehog an anti-fungal bath to rid him of the mites.
Now, the rescue is focused on helping Bear grow back his spines, which are his natural defense in the wild. This means lots of massages for bare Bear.
Each day, Bear receives “a soothing aloe vera” massage from a rescue employee. These rubs help the hedgehog relax and also repair his irritated skin, making it more suitable for spine growth.
“Bear was very weak on arrival, close to giving up I would say,” Fran shared. “But now his skin is improving, he’s getting quite cheeky, huffing to let me know when he’s had enough. He’s enjoying it at the moment as it’s giving him relief.”
It will likely take a month or more for Bear’s spines to grow back, but the rescue is hopeful that the hedgehog will make a full recovery from his rough winter.
Fran said it would be the “greatest gift” to be able to release Bear back into the wild once he is fully healed.
To support Cuan Wildlife Rescue and the dozens of animals under their care, like Bear, visit the rescue’s website.