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World's Largest Hedgehog Goes On A Diet

And he's so very, very hungry.

An overweight and totally adorable hedgehog -- which is thought to be the largest in the world -- has been put on a strict diet to get his weight in check.

Tipping the scales at about 2.3kg -- which is nearly four times the normal size of a healthy hedgehog -- the creature was was handed in to The New Arc animal rescue shelter in Aberdeenshire, Scotland after he was found struggling to walk and couldn't form a defensive ball.

Speaking to the BBC, Keith Marley from the animal centre said the hedgehog, named Arbuckle, was the heaviest they could find on record.

Arbuckle tipped the scales at just over 2.3kg. Image: The New Arc.

"We were really surprised by his size and weight, as the average is about 600g," Marley said.

"The person who contacted us said he was feeding hedgehogs but this one stayed and refused to go -- this may well have been due to the fact he could hardly walk."

On the Facebook page, The New Arc centre wrote, "Hedgehogs can be quite greedy when given the opportunity."

The post also said that due to Arbuckle's size it was essential for him to go on a diet in order to survive in the wild.

"We can only hope that his internal organs and bone structure can adapt and that any damage done is reversible," the caption stated.

Arbuckle's carers said he needs to slim down if he's ever to survive. Image: The New Arc.

Marley added that while it was necessary, the process of slimming down the hungry hedgehog would need to be "slow".

“It will be gradual. We’re looking at this time next year as in a few months time we’ll be heading into winter so we’ll over-winter him again as he can’t hibernate and release him next year.”

Arbuckle will be fed a restricted diet that's designed to keep him feeling full for longer. The food will also be scattered around, which means he will get some incidental exercise at the same time.

"He will be grumpy for a while but we're being cruel to be kind. There is no way he would survive in the wild," Marley added.

While a little bit unusual, it's not the first time we've heard about an overweight animal needing to shed a few kilos. In fact, Pet Fit Club, the UK's biggest and most successful pet slimming competition runs a six-month challenge for portly pets each year.

Scroll down to see some of the most memorable contenders.

Jack, 7kg
Lucy, 8.8kg
Image: PDSA.
Ethel, 30.3kg
Image: PDSA.
Puff, 7.5kg
Image: PDSA.
Entei, 8.5kg
Image: PDSA.
Oscar, 21.6kg
Image: PDSA.
Zed, 46kg
Image: PDSA.

Feature image: The New Arc.