Meet the world’s smoothest cuddliest hedgehog.
Named after a brave hero, but Nelson is completely BALD so when curled up he looks like an EGG.
Doesn’t have a single prickle or strand of hair.
Thought to be suffering a stress related alopecia following a trauma in the wild.
Volunteers have been massaging him for half an hour a day for the last YEAR to encourage spikes to grow.
Now given up but he still gets daily massages because he enjoys them so much and to keep his cuddle skin soft and smooth.
Unlike his namesake Nelson could not defend himself so will live out his days at the Foxy Lodge Wildlife Rescue.
He might be named after Norfolk’s bravest hero, but Nelson the hedgehog is totally spineless.
So much so that when curled he looks more like an EGG than a hedgehog.
In fact he’s thought to be the world’s cuddliest hedgehog, boasting not a single prickle or hair on his completely smooth skin.
He’s thought to be suffering from stress related alopecia and has been enjoying half hour daily massages for the past YEAR in a bid to encourage his prickles to grown back.
But volunteers at the Foxy Lodge wildlife Rescue where he is being looked after fear he will be bald forever after failing to grow a single spike or hair.
Nelson was taken to the centre last year suffering with bald patches but has since lost ALL of his prickles and hair.
Staff suspect he must have been fully covered up until shortly before he was found to have survived into adulthood.
They have no idea why Nelson’s hair or prickles will not grow and suspect he may have suffered a trauma or stress in the wild that triggered the alopecia.
Center manager Tonia Garner, 52, said: ‘We’ve had hundreds of hedgehogs but we have never seen anything like Nelson before.
‘We’ve had a couple with bald patches.
‘But Nelson is something else. He doesn’t have a single prickle or hair on his entire body. Though he does have nails so he is a mystery and we will likely never know what caused him to lose his hair and spikes.
‘He’s a mystery but to have survived into adulthood he must have had prickles and his health is very good other than the fact he is bald.’
She and other volunteers massage Nelson for half an hour every day with almond oil to sooth the dry flaky skin on his body.
Tonia said: ‘ He absolutely loves his massages. He’d be there all day if he could.’
And the good life will continue for Nelson because without prickles to defend himself he is too vulnerable to return to the wild as originally hoped.
‘He just wouldn’t survive. He might be named after Norfolk’s bravest hero but I’m afraid this little Nelson wouldn’t last five minutes without any form of defence against predators.
“He looks like a big egg.’
He might be completely spineless, but according to Tonia he’s full of attitude and prefers certain volunteers to perform his massage and dish up his mealworm and boiled eggs.
She said: ‘ He squeals like a little piglet if he doesn’t get whom he. Nelson has his favourites and he knows how to get his own way but that’s not hard because we all love him.
‘Hedgehogs are not known for being cuddly but this one certainly is. He loves affection.’
Tonia and husband John who run the sanctuary together from their home in Hemsby have a large outdoor enclosure where Nelson can enjoy the garden safely.
They set it up using money from their wedding and have since both retired to volunteer full time, rehabilitating up to 1000 animals a year.
They are appealing for funds to care for the animals they look after including deer, owls, foxes, birds and squirrels.
He said: ‘ We just want to give animals like Nelson a second chance at life.’
The couple this week were presented with an award at the House of Lords from the International Fund For Animal Welfare.
To donate visit http://www.foxylodge.yolasite.com