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This Baby Rescued Hedgehog Lost Its Spikes Because Of Its Traumatic Childhood

Derek the hedgehog was smaller than a hamster when he was discovered.

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This is Derek – a rescued hedgehog who has been diagnosed with stress-related alopecia after losing almost all of his spines.

Herts Hogline

Derek lost his spines because he has had "a rough start in life”, doctors at A120 Veterinary Surgery in Hertfordshire said.

James Linsell-Clark / SWNS

Derek was a tiny hoglet when he was found wandering in a back garden in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, in September 2015.

He was only two or three weeks old and weighed 87g.

James Linsell-Clark / SWNS

Lynne Garner, who runs the hedgehog charity Herts Hogline, said that when they found him he was smaller than a hamster, but he had an infected wound the size of a 5p coin that took over a month to heal.

James Linsell-Clark / SWNS

"We think it might have been caused by being pecked by a bird," she said.

"We thought at first it was the usual suspects - mange or ringworm - that was leaving him bald but in the last few weeks the vet finally diagnosed him with stress-related alopecia.

"I've never seen this before in 25 years of looking after hedgehogs."

Doctors said that in order to reduce his stress levels Derek needs a larger, heated area to roam.

James Linsell-Clark / SWNS

And after an appeal on Facebook, Derek has now found a new home.

Local volunteer Monique Blackford got in touch with Garner to say that she had an indoor run where Derek can be warm and safe.

"With the new run hopefully he'll recover in the next two months and his stress levels will go down," Garner said.

Hedgehogs are one of Britain’s most endangered species, with numbers dwindling from 35 million in the 1950s to around one million today.

Garner said that Derek is a "fighter" and hopes that his spines will regrow by March so that they can release him back into the wild.

"He has a very strong personality. If I try to handle him he curls up and bounces around trying to hurt me with his spines but instead I just get hit with a little ball of warm, soft skin," she said.

Get well soon Derek.

James Linsell-Clark / SWNS

Fiona Rutherford is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Fiona Rutherford at fiona.rutherford@buzzfeed.com.

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