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Last Updated: Friday, 5 September, 2003, 11:56 GMT 12:56 UK
Prairie dog dumped on drive
Prairie Dog
Prairie dogs come from America
A wild animal from the American Midwest has been found abandoned in a Somerset town.

The prairie dog was found dumped on the driveway of a house in Glastonbury.

A passer-by initially thought it was a guinea pig, but local animal collection officer James Mullin realised he had spotted something altogether rarer.

"He's about the size of a large guinea pig, but with the face of a grey squirrel and a tail like a ferret," he said.

"He is very cute, very friendly and he loves being cuddled. He has clearly been hand-reared and is in excellent health.

"I would imagine he has been deliberately abandoned - this area of Glastonbury, near the Tor, is a site frequently used by people dumping unwanted pets, but I have never been called out to pick up something so unusual."

The prairie dog, which has been nicknamed Gizmo, is being cared for by Mr Mullin until a new home - probably at a zoo or wildlife park - can be found for it.

The animal is being given plenty of fruit, vegetables and guinea pig mix to eat, though it is thought to have been fed on crisps by its previous owner.

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