A hedgehog rescued by Pool Academy staff and students has been released back into the wild after being nursed back to health.
Four students travelled to Duchy College Rosewarne to wave goodbye to the creature as his enclosure doors were opened ready to set him free.
About a month ago the hedgehog, affectionately named Harold by the school, had been found tangled in school cricket nets. He was in shock, underweight and dehydrated.
PE teachers Alistair Durant and Julian Hosking rushed to its aid, with the help of some students, and used scissors to cut it free.
Unfortunately, there was still some netting caught under its arm and so it was taken to Duchy College by Learning Facilitator Sarah Jackson.
The hedgehog was 572 grams when it arrived at the college but on the day of his release he was 876 grams– a weight gain of nearly 300g.
Students were allowed to hold Harold one last time before he was set free.
Neve, Year 9, was first to hold the hedgehog. She said: “I liked his nose. He was a sweetheart. I really enjoyed it.”
Harvey, Year 9, said: “He flinched a bit when I held him. He wasn’t too heavy to hold.”
Lucy Bennetts, Head Technician at Duchy College Rosewarne, said: “The hedgehog has been doing really well.
“He was so thin when he arrived and was dehydrated.
“He is a beautiful size now. He is how he should be.
“It is the perfect time for him to go.
“We think he was last year’s baby and so this will be the first year he will be going out to find a mate.”
She said Harold has not returned to its enclosure since they left the door open.
“It appears he ate his tea and then decided to venture out around his new home,” she said. “We don’t think he has returned.
“We have liked having him here. He has had the most expensive food and has also had meal worms and students at the college have been collecting slugs and snails for him.”
Sarah Jackson, Learning Facilitator at Pool Academy, said: “Thank you to Duchy College for letting us be involved in the hedgehog’s recovery and release.
“We were surprised at how big he had gotten since we first brought him to the college.
“They really look after their animals at the college.
“We were excited to see Harold being released.”