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Last Updated: Friday, 14 September 2007, 12:39 GMT 13:39 UK
Hedgehog survives 40-degree wash
Lucky the hedgehog at Brent Lodge
The hedgehog had been nesting in a pile of washing by the machine
A hedgehog is recovering after surviving a spin in a 40-degree washing machine cycle.

The female creature was nicknamed Lucky by staff who have been caring for her at the Brent Lodge wildlife hospital, near Chichester, in West Sussex.

Hospital manager Penny Cooper said the hedgehog wandered into a private home and burrowed into a pile of washing that was then put into the machine.

Lucky is now being cared for by a hospital volunteer in Hampshire.

Ms Cooper said she was undergoing rehabilitation care before being given a "soft release" back into the wild.

'Fundraising plea'

"We monitored her [at the hospital] to make sure there was no chest infection and none of the water had gone into her lungs," she said.

"She didn't seem disorientated, she was fine, and very clean with no parasites or anything of that nature on her."

She explained the hedgehog was brought to the hospital at the beginning of September with the kind of story she had never experienced before.

"This lady came in and said, 'I've got a hedgehog that's just been through an eco cycle in my washing machine'.

"She'd left the back door open and this little hedgehog found a nice warm nest of clothing.

"It was only when she took the washing out that she got some prickles going into her hand."

Brent Lodge made a funding plea in July and warned that it was facing closure, but Ms Cooper said it had now won a temporary reprieve through public donations.

"Currently our position is that we can keep going until about Christmas, but we're still doing lots of fund-raising to help keep the money coming in," she said


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