The hedgehog with no PRICKLES: Baby with no spines has to have regular massages to keep him warm 

 

As the nights turn darker and the winter chill sets in, spare a thought for this bald hedgehog Nelson.

 

Hedgehogs’ wrinkly bodies normally have around 500 spikes, which protect them from predators and keep them warm.

 

But Nelson, named after the war hero, is completely bald and must be kept inside and massaged every day by volunteers at Foxy Lodge Wildlife Rescue.

 

It is believed the problem is a genetic disorder and he is being treated with antiseptic scrubs and baby oil massages.  

 

Tonia Gardner holds up Nelson, who will not be released into the wild unless his spikes grow

Nelson is being kept at the rescue centre in Norfolk run by Tonia and John Garner.

It is hoped he will eventually grow his spines back, but if he does not the shelter will continue to take care of him. 

 

He cannot be released into the wild as the only way he can protect himself is with his spikes.

 

They also provide a type of hollow hair which give the animals extra warmth.

This is not the first time a bald hedgehog has turned up at the centre.  

 

In 2009 a hedgehog, called Baldrick, with a similar condition was taken to Foxy Lodge but died soon after.

 

They also took in bald hedgehog ‘Betty’ in 2010, who arrived at the centre weighing only 124 grams but is now a healthy 700 pounds.

 

 

 

The couple set up the rescue centre eight years ago with donations from their family and friends.

 

Since then they have rescued and rehabilitated hundreds of animals and birds each year.

 

They expect the figure for 2016 alone to exceed 1,000.

On Tuesday they were recognised for their charitable work when they were presented with a special award at the House of Lords.

 

Mrs Garner, 52, said: ‘Without the joint passion we share to help animals, we wouldn’t be able to continue this work. 

 

‘It gets tough sometimes but what makes it all worth the effort is when you see a recovered animal leave and regain its freedom.’

 

Mr Garner, 57, added: ‘What we are doing is just supporting all these animals which would not otherwise have a second chance at a life.’