Malta’s fattest hedgehog – who was so big at one point that she was unable to even walk – has died of liver failure.
Garfield the hedgehog was last seen seen scuttling across the floor of an animal refuge with a new spring in her step after she was rescued by a group of kind-hearted volunteers who helped her regain her mobility.
But the adorable North African hedgehog sadly passed away from liver failure on Wednesday, 12th October, according to a statement Newsflash obtained from Wildlife Rescue Team Malta.
Garfield was more than twice the size of a normal hedgehog and weighed in at 2.2 kilogrammes (4.9 lb) when she was found in the small town of Pieta on the outskirts of Malta’s capital city, Valletta.
A member of the NGO – Angela Lofaro – said the animal refuge had “never seen anything like her”.
Lofaro explained that Garfield was the largest hedgehog her team had ever rescued and weighed just 100 grammes less than a hedgehog named Arbuckle, who was considered the heaviest hedgehog in the world after he was found in Scotland four years ago.
Volunteers from Wildlife Rescue Team Malta went on to explain that Garfield had bloodied hind legs and was unable to walk when she was rescued.
They also suggested that her extreme weight gain was due to excessive overeating and a lack of exercise, while stating that it was obvious that the hedgehog had been kept as a pet, which is illegal in Malta.
The average North African hedgehog typically weighs up to 800 grammes.
Garfield managed to shed 400 grammes and weighed less than 1.74 kilogrammes (3.8 lb) at the time of her death.
The statement said: “Our vet performed a necropsy (animal autopsy) during the morning to determine cause of death.
“The findings show liver failure due to extreme fat deposits in the liver, causing the liver to stop working.”
The animal refuge explained that Garfield’s liver failure was directly related to her weight.
The NGO added: “Internally, the damage caused to the organs by the amount of fat stored in her body, was too severe to ever be reversed.
“This is not cute, this is animal cruelty.
“THIS is why wild animals should never be kept as pets.”
The wildlife rescue team reminded the public that it is illegal to keep a wild animal as a pet in Malta.
The statement added: “Fly high Garfield.
“Now you’ll be able to run to your heart’s content.”
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Story By: Alice Amelia Thomas, Sub-Editor: William McGee, Agency: Newsflash
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