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Miracle hedgehog brought back from the dead by Stratford schoolgirls

A "MIRACLE hog" has been brought back seemingly from the dead by two Stratford schoolgirls.

The animal, named Evie, was brought in to the Hedgehog Friendly Town hospital, run by Kyra Barboutis, 15, and Sophie Smith, 14, last month.

Things didn’t look good for Evie, who was stone cold and not breathing. A stethoscope couldn't even find a heartbeat.

Her temperature was just 3.4 degrees – far below the 35 degrees of a healthy hedgehog – and she did not respond to anything.

When curled up in hibernation, a hedgehog’s spines will normally ripple if disturbed, but Evie’s didn’t even do that.

Although all seemed lost, Kyra and Sophie sensed something wasn’t right as Evie was still soft, meaning rigor mortis had not set in.

Kyra said: “We thought she had just died as she was so soft. We could see no movement or see or hear any breathing or heartbeat. Although she appeared to be dead, we didn’t want to upset the finder until we were absolutely sure, but we feared the worst for her.”

Never ones to give up, the pair decided to warm Evie up, wrapping her gently and placing her on a heat pad.

Sophie said: “We have learned before that sometimes they can really surprise you and we wanted her to be warm and comfortable. We have had hedgehogs in before with maggots crawling out from them, where most people would think they didn't stand a chance, yet we have managed to pull them through, so you really never know.”

Evie’s temperature began to rise slowly and then, to the girls’ surprise, they detected a faint heartbeat.

Kyra said: “We were shocked when we could finally hear a heartbeat but to start with it was so intermittent and so soft that we started to think perhaps we had imagined it. It wasn't actually until 16 hours later we were 100 per cent sure she was going to make it.”

The girls injected warm fluids into Evie every few hours and incredibly she began to recover.

Now Kyra and Sophie believe Evie was in hypothermic shock when she was brought into the hospital and that something must have happened as she went into hypothermia. Whatever the reason, it's highly unlikely Evie would have survived without the girls’ help.

Given her ordeal, Evie has had trouble gaining weight, so the girls have been hand-feeding her fluids and doing special massages to stimulate the animal’s nerve pathways after she had difficulty walking.

Kyra said: “It’s a miracle that she did recover as we thought she would never make it. We are delighted that she is making good progress and we will be able to release her back into the wild.

"When she first woke she really struggled to walk without falling over so not only did we have to hand-feed and give her fluids by injection, but also stimulate her muscles and nerves to help them all work properly.”

Evie is now back to normal, though some of her behaviour leaves a little to be desired.

Sophie said: “She’s a bit of a diva and is very picky about what she will eat – she only likes Royal Canin recovery tinned meat. It's the most expensive food there is, but she is worth it.

“She trashes the cage if we give her anything else. She’s quite lively and now she is better absolutely hates to be handled.

"We find this a lot. When they are poorly they put up with the gentle care we give them and as soon as they are well we really have to be as hands-off as possible. This is where the cameras we set up in the cages work so well to help monitor them.

“We always have to remember they are wild animals and have to be treated that way. It's going to be amazing when we can release her back to the wild in the spring.”

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