Phelps the Hedgehog Takes Swimming Lessons to Fix His Hind Legs

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A hedgehog in Scotland is swimming his way to recovery after he was stranded outside in frigid temperatures.

The spiny mammal, named Phelps after Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, was found in November near Alness and the Highlands and taken to a local SPCA.

Once he uncurled his body — hedgehogs roll into a ball when they’re afraid — it was found that his hind legs were not functioning.

To help cure this, an SPCA veterinarian recommended physiotherapy.

Phelps was placed in a shallow bath of water to begin hydrotherapy, according to National Wildlife Rescue Centre manager Colin Seddon.

In a video uploaded by the Scottish SPCA, Phelps is seen paddling around in a clear box of water with some guided assistance.

“He was closely supervised by Nicola Turnbull, our head of small mammals, and was able to build up strength in his hind legs without having to bear any weight,” Seddon said.

It took just seven days of swimming for Phelps to reclaim the use of his back legs.

Finding a hedgehog outside during this time of the year is concerning because the creature will often struggle in the cold weather, Seddon said.

Phelps should be released back into the wild when the weather in Scotland becomes warmer.


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