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AnimalsCuteEditor's PicksMeet Thumbelina! The rare tiny hedgehog that will never grow any bigger

Meet Thumbelina! The rare tiny hedgehog that will never grow any bigger

This adorable hedgehog has a rare condition which means it stopped growing – and will remain tiny all its adult life.

The creature called ‘Thumbelina’ was rescued along with her family – but cannot be released back in to the wild because of her size.

Thumbelina the hedgehog at Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary in Whitby, North Yorkshire. 9 September 2015.  This adorable hedgehog has a rare condition which means it stopped growing - and will remain tiny all its adult life.  See SWNS story SWHOG; She was rescued along with her family - but cannot be released back in to the wild because of her size.  She weighs just 130g and is less than three inches tall and three inches in length - easily fitting into the palm of a hand.  Her tiny size is down to a very rare condition known as "failure to thrive" which means no matter how much she eats she will never grow to the size of an adult.

She weighs just 130g and is less than three inches tall and three inches in length – easily fitting into the palm of a hand.

Her tiny size is down to a very rare condition known as “failure to thrive” which means no matter how much she eats she will never grow to the size of an adult.

Despite the illness, the three-month-old creature will go on to live a healthy life – despite being half the size of his siblings.

The tiny hedgehog was rescued alongside a litter of baby hedgehogs at the start of the summer after her nest was destroyed at the end of June.

Thumbelina the hedgehog with her brother from the same litter at Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary in Whitby, North Yorkshire. 9 September 2015.  This adorable hedgehog has a rare condition which means it stopped growing - and will remain tiny all its adult life.  See SWNS story SWHOG; She was rescued along with her family - but cannot be released back in to the wild because of her size.  She weighs just 130g and is less than three inches tall and three inches in length - easily fitting into the palm of a hand.  Her tiny size is down to a very rare condition known as "failure to thrive" which means no matter how much she eats she will never grow to the size of an adult.

Thumbelina the hedgehog with her brother from the same litter

Alex Farmer with Thumbelina, the hedgehog, at Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary in Whitby, North Yorkshire. 9 September 2015.  The hedgehog has a rare condition which means it stopped growing - and will remain tiny all its adult life. See SWNS story SWHOG; The creature called 'Thumbelina' was rescued along with her family - but cannot be released back in to the wild because of her size.  She weighs just 130g and is less than three inches tall and three inches in length - easily fitting into the palm of a hand.  Her tiny size is down to a very rare condition known as "failure to thrive" which means no matter how much she eats she will never grow to the size of an adult.

She was taken to Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary in Whitby, north Yorkshire, where she was cared for by Alex Farmer.

Alex noticed that one of the family did not grow, despite eating normally and being perfectly healthy, with her siblings now twice her size.

Alex, 26, said: “It’s a rare condition. I have never had a hedgehog with it before. I started to wonder why she wasn’t growing.

“It was quite a shock – I was worried about her. She had quite a few tests done.

“I thought she might have a worm infection or something that was stunting her growth, but she is perfectly healthy.

“I started to do some other research and spoke to other carers about it. A few said I have definitely got one with failure to thrive.

“It was quite interesting seeing the comparison between her and her siblings. When they get released, she will be staying behind.”

Thumbelina the hedgehog at Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary in Whitby, North Yorkshire. 9 September 2015.  This adorable hedgehog has a rare condition which means it stopped growing - and will remain tiny all its adult life.  See SWNS story SWHOG; She was rescued along with her family - but cannot be released back in to the wild because of her size.  She weighs just 130g and is less than three inches tall and three inches in length - easily fitting into the palm of a hand.  Her tiny size is down to a very rare condition known as "failure to thrive" which means no matter how much she eats she will never grow to the size of an adult.

Despite a healthy diet of cat food and mealworms for treats, Thumbelina will have to remain in the sanctuary her whole life due to her size.

Alex added: “She is going to become a resident her at the sanctuary. She eats just as much as her siblings. I don’t know where it all goes.

“She has either meaty cat food or car biscuits, or wet dog food. As a treat, she loves mealworms.

“Hedgehogs in care can live up to 14, but we have no idea how long she will live.”

Her three siblings will be released into the wild later this month.

If you wish to donate to the sanctuary, visit www.whitbywildlife.co.uk

Alex Farmer who looks after Thumbelina, the hedgehog, at Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary in Whitby, North Yorkshire. 9 September 2015.  The hedgehog has a rare condition which means it stopped growing - and will remain tiny all its adult life. See SWNS story SWHOG; The creature called 'Thumbelina' was rescued along with her family - but cannot be released back in to the wild because of her size.  She weighs just 130g and is less than three inches tall and three inches in length - easily fitting into the palm of a hand.  Her tiny size is down to a very rare condition known as "failure to thrive" which means no matter how much she eats she will never grow to the size of an adult.

Alex Farmer who looks after Thumbelina, the hedgehog, at Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary in Whitby, North Yorkshire

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