PEOPLE are being urged to think twice about buying African Pygmy hedgehogs as pets.
Northumberland Wildlife Trust says that the pets are being bought by parents for their children, but when they realise they cannot be handled a easily as hamsters or gerbils they are releasing them into the wild.
Not only does this mean the hedgehogs are unlikely to survive for long and will suffer, but there could also be a risk of them inter-breeding with native hedgehogs, which could lead to the extinction of the British species within a decade.
Trust Head of Conservation Steve Lowe said: “As with any pet, think long and hard before buying an African Pygmy hedgehog — they may look enchanting, but cannot be handled like hamsters because they have spikes.
“And please, should you tire of them, do not release them into the wild as they won’t survive for long.”