Meet britains smiles hedgehog – who loves nothing better than hanging out at the pub!
Meet the adorable spiny critter whose winning grin and belly laughs make him Britain’s smiliest hedgehog.
Adorable African Pygmy Waldo is prone to cracking a large smile for the camera and the sociable hedgehog loves nothing better than hanging out at his local pub on a Friday night.
Owner Niki Brown, 32, is besotted with her prickly pal, and says he is now a completely different hog to the one she adopted 11 months ago from a rescue centre.
Niki, from Farnborough, North East Hampshire, said: “He’s so happy and friendly.
“He’ll start to smile particularly when he’s being given food – I’ve never seen anyone seen anyone so happy to see food in all my life.
“He just melts my heart. The faces he pulls are just hilarious.
“We even take him to the pub with us quite regularly on a Friday night. He’s really sociable.
“He goes to the pub in his carry case but we take a blanket with us so he can snuggle and some of his favourite food which is sweetcorn.
“As presents people send him toys and snuggle sacks, and cat treats.”
Care supervisor Niki and partner of three years Jack Dicken, 26, spied their dream pet Waldo on social media, and Niki says she was charmed by pictures of the little hog hiding away.
The couple adopted him from National Exotic Hedgehog Rescue – and say they’ve never looked back.
After a lengthy adoption process the spikey sport arrived at his new home with Niki and Jack in May 2016, and initially gave them both the cold shoulder, says Niki, much to her dismay.
But slowly but surely the little hedgehog, now around three years old, opened up to his loving owner and started to crack out the smiles.
Now, she claims, the grins just keep on coming – and she’s there with the camera ready to snap his cheery face.
Niki said: “I used to cry, I used to think, ‘This hog hates me’.
“It can take a while for them to get used to you, but he would bite and run away.
“Now the change is unbelievable. He will come out now when I call his name and he follows me around. He’ll run around my bedroom which has been hog-proofed so that he can’t eat things.
“I think he must have been a dog in a past life.”
Niki claims her pet’s behaviour is unusual for hedgehogs, which she says are typically rather grumpy creatures.
And he’s certainly one of a kind when it comes to his social activities.
Niki said: “They are normally really grumpy and huffy it’s lovely to see that the time and care I put in with him has paid off and he’s so happy.
“He’s handled for one to four hours a day. We will have a cuddle with him in the evening.
“He’ll even come along to the pub with us on Friday nights where we both used to work and hang out.
“He’s very popular, people even send him presents.”
Most bizarrely, his full name is ‘Where’s Waldo Thorn Dicken The Hedgehog’.
Niki said: “His fosterer would always put pictures and videos up of him hiding, saying ‘Where’s Waldo?’
“I just fell in love with him and said to Jack, ‘I have to have this hedgehog in my life.’
“We kept the ‘Where’s Waldo?’ name, with ‘Waldo’ for short.
“Jack wanted a different name for him, Thorn, after a dragon in a computer game, so that’s one of his names.
“Then he has Jack’s second name too.
“We had been looking for a small pet and had got to look at all the normal things, but none of them really took my fancy.
“Then Jack told me that someone he knew at uni had a pet hedgehog, and that was it.”