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A hedgehog who inflated to twice his size has been released back into the wild

Monty was suffering from a rare condition commonly known as ‘balloon syndrome’.

A hedgehog suffering from a condition which caused the animal to inflate like a balloon is now happily back in the wild in Doncaster.

Monty inflated to twice his size thanks to the rare syndrome, called subcutaneous emphysema (more commonly known as ‘Balloon Syndrome’). Caused by a traumatic event, like an injury or underlying infection, it meant air collected under his skin – and the condition can be fatal.

But the RSPCA has been looking after the little fighter since he went into their care several weeks ago, and he has now rehabilitated fully.

“He was a big male – nearly 1kg – but was so inflated he was almost twice his natural size,” said RSPCA inspector Sandra Dransfield, who collected him after a call from a concerned member of the public on June 5.

“He couldn’t get all four feet on the ground at the same time, so clearly couldn’t move or feed properly.”

She added: “It was the worst case of Balloon Syndrome I’ve ever seen.”

When hedgehogs suffer from the condition, the air fills up the space that allows them to roll into a ball, which is how the animals protect themselves from predators when they’re sleeping or feel threatened.

Unable to even tuck his head in, Monty was in a very vulnerable situation.

And when he was spotted by the member of the public, he was going round in circles, dragging his back leg.

But after being taken to the vet, some of the air was released from under his skin and he was given pain relief. He then had lots of TLC at Stapeley Grange wildlife centre in Nantwich, Cheshire – where they call him Monty after the Montgolfier brothers who invented the hot air balloon – until they decided he was well enough to be back out on his own again.

How great is it to see Monty back to a normal size and off on his adventures again?