Tiny Hamish the hedgehog knew what he was doing when he sought sanctuary in a Newmarket school because he got taken to the Animal Welfare Centre in the school grounds where he is being looked after by animal care students.
He’s now one of their most popular pets and has gone from a miniscule 125 grams (4.4oz) to 400 grams, just under a pound, in a few weeks and given the students from West Suffolk College extra experience of looking after a wild animal.
Jasmine Houston, the Animal Technician Demonstrator, explained that the young spiky bundle was found in the music room at Newmarket Academy by a teacher and was brought to them covered in fleas and ticks and weighing such a small amount. He was welcomed by the Centre who found room for him among their menagerie of more than 100 animals.
“He was covered in fleas and ticks so we treated him and fed him with mealworms and mashed bananas. Now he lives with the sugar gliders, marsupials from Australia, that are also nocturnal animals. The students weigh him every day, three times a day, record his weight and feed him”.
The hedgehog was put on the Centre’s Facebook page and students voted for his name. Hamish easily came out top. “We’ve never had a hedgehog here, its great work experience,” said Jasmine. “Level 2 students do a wildlife module and they will be building him up and releasing him into the nearby woods in the spring”.
Happy Hamish has quickly become a favourite among the students along with Boris the ginger guinea pig and they say he is very friendly and calm when they hand feed him.
The students who are all studying Animal Care and Animal Management have added Hamish to their cleaning and feeding list over the holidays. They will be looking after him along with rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, hamsters, reptiles, snakes, geccos, tree frogs, scorpions, sugar gliders, fish, a bearded dragon and chickens!