Animals Video

By Harriet Whitehead


An injured hedgehog that made a full recovery after his rescuers gave him SWIMMING lessons has been released back into the wild.

Phelps, who was named after famous US swimmer Michael Phelps, was found in the Scottish highlands in November unable to move his hind legs.

But now the spiky mammal has made a full recovery thanks to a pioneering hydrotherapy treatment used by the Scottish SPCA.

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Adorable footage captured at the SPCA’s rescue centre at Fishcross in Clackmannanshire showed Phelps using his front and hind legs to swim.

Hydrotherapy is often used to treat animals because it provides a weightless environment to promote the use of the limbs.

Centre manager Colin Seddon  said: “Phelps arrived into our care last November unable to move his hind legs.

“Our vet advised physiotherapy and because hedgehogs curl up when scared, we decided to place him in a shallow bath of water.

“He was closely supervised by head of small mammals Nicola Turnbull and was able to build up strength in his hind legs without having to bear any weight.

“After 146 days in our care, Phelps made a full recovery and was released earlier this month.”

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Phelps was released into a garden in the Angus area and will be support fed for as long as necessary.

Colin said: “Phelps was microchipped before leaving the centre so we will be able to track if he needs our help again in the future.

“All of our hedgehogs will be microchipped before being released this year so we can identify if they come back into our care.

“This will give us important feedback such as how well they have integrated back into the wild and how long they have survived.

“Tracking is something we would like to introduce for all of the wild animals we release in the future.”