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Adorable hedgehog found abandoned on Hammersmith and City line platform named after station

The adult pygmy hedgehog, now called Paddington, is being looked after by a hedgehog carer

The adult pygmy hedgehog is now called Paddington(Image: RSPCA)

Mice and pigeons are a common sight for London commuters, but customers at one tube station had a surprise to find a critter from much further afield.

Workers and commuters using the London Underground were shocked to find a cute African pygmy hedgehog crammed into a tiny hamster carrier on a platform at Edgware Road station.

A staff member contacted the RSPCA, and animal collection officer (ACO) Jill Sanders rushed to the Hammersmith and City line station in Paddington , at around 8.15pm on August 11, to collect the frightened little animal.

She said: “I was relieved that the little hedgehog was still alive as it was far too cold for him.

“He was crammed into a tiny cage and must have been very disoriented and frightened.

“It’s not clear whether he’s been abandoned or if his owner left him behind by mistake so if anyone recognises him we’d urge them to get in touch by calling our appeal line on 0300 123 8018.”

Animal collection officer Jill Sanders rushed to the station to collect the frightened little critter(Image: RSPCA)

The adult pygmy hedgehog - now called Paddington - is being cared for by a hedgehog carer in London.

The RSPCA is concerned that the African pygmy hedgehog is one of Britain’s latest pet crazes and the charity does not believe they should be kept as pets because this species, like many exotic animals, has very specific needs, which relate to where they come from in the wild.

An African pygmy hedgehog’s natural habitat is the semi-arid areas of central Africa and in captivity it would therefore require a heated enclosure with a carefully-controlled temperature of between 24-30°C.

Over 30°C, the hedgehog is likely to suffer heat stroke, whilst temperatures lower than 18°C can induce torpor (a form of hibernation), which is not advisable in captive pygmy hedgehogs.

The adorable creature was found on a platform at Edgware Road station(Image: Getty Images)

Nicola White, RSPCA senior scientific officer for exotics, said: “African pygmy hedgehogs are solitary, nocturnal animals and will not give the companionship of many domesticated pets.

"If you keep two together it is likely that they will fight. They can live for eight to 10 years so are a considerable commitment.

"These hedgehogs can travel large distances in the wild and anyone keeping one in captivity would need to allow for this natural behaviour, providing as large an enclosure as possible and space allow with plenty of hiding places and opportunity for digging, foraging and exercise.

"African pygmy hedgehogs have more specialist requirements than the more traditional domesticated pet animals, fundamentally linked to their natural environment in the wild.

"It is difficult to adequately meet the animal's needs in a household environment and, where these needs can't be met, the animal really should not be kept."

Anyone with any information about who may have owned the hedgehog should call the RSPCA’s inspector appeal line on 0300 123 8018 and leave a message.

To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit their website or text LOVE to 87023 to give £3 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).

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