There might be a gang of spiky critters running around B.C. on their own. Animal services rescued a bunch of abandoned hedgehogs in Metro Vancouver after their owner left them exposed to the elements. While they were shaken up and "traumatized" by the experience, after a visit to the vet they're now doing okay.
The tiny pets were found dumped in an empty Amazon box in New Westminster on Saturday, August 8. Aaron Hilgerdenaar, who is the superintendent of street use enforcement, parking, and animal services for the city, spoke to Narcity.
He said a local found two in the box. They reported a third was running "at large."
"There were crows pecking at one," he said.
Animal service officers soon arrived on the scene and managed to chase down the one who ran. They currently have all three safe.
However, Hilgerdenaar said there might be more out there since one had already fled the box.
"We don't really know how many were there to begin with. So we would count on our residents to let us know if there's any more running around," he said.
All three were identified as male African pygmy hedgehogs, and are currently doing physically well, according to their latest vet visit.
"It appears that they weren't handled a whole bunch by their previous owners," said Hilgerdenaar.
While plenty of people keep hedgehogs as pets, he said, many don't realize they are "unique and high needs animals," instead picking them up because they're cute.
"They don't realize that there's a time, socialization, and monetary commitment that comes with responsible pet ownership, " he said.
People should try different methods if they're no longer able to care for their pets instead of "leaving them in a box in a park exposed to the elements, potential predators, causing a traumatic experience for the animal itself," Hilgerdenaar said.
For example, you could contact your local animal shelter, SPCA, reputable animal rescue society, or more, he added.
All three hedgehogs will "for sure" find a forever home, he said. They'll either be adopted out, given to a partner organization, or sent to a foster home that would love them.
If you spot any tiny spiked critters running around, let them know at 604-519-2008 as soon as possible.