Staff at Tiggywinkles puts Hedgehog on diet

An Albino Hedgehog at a wildlife hospital has been put on a strict diet and exercise regime because he is dangerously overweight and the staff at Tiggywinkles wildlife hospital in Buckinghamshire has decided that Snowball needs to lose two pounds (0.91kg).

Snowball currently weighs three pounds (about 1.5kg) which is three times than a healthy hedgehog should weigh.

He was found by a member of the public in Thatcham, Berkshire, in October.

In a bid to reduce his weight he is undergoing daily swimming sessions in the centre's hydrotherapy unit. Rather glamorously, this is a jacuzzi donated by TV presenter Philippa Forrester.

He has also been put on a crash diet of low-fat kitten biscuits.

"He is being swum every day, he goes in our physio unit and has a swim around," said Clare Campbell, who works at the hospital.

Les Stocker, founder of the hospital, said it had been a slow process trying to get Snowball to slim down. Snowball has so far shed about 1.3 ounces (38 grams). Only one in 1,000 hedgehogs is born albino and it makes them more vulnerable in the wild.

Snowball will be released from the centre in summer, into a protected area where he will be monitored.