“We carried out a raid this morning. And there was indeed a hedgehog in there,” Hans-Olof Sundström of the Gävle police to the local Arbetarbladet newspaper.
The woman came across the hedgehog in the street in central Gävle back in June.
Feeling sorry for it, the woman took the animal back to her apartment and began caring for it.
For almost a month, the hedgehog lived a life of luxury in the woman’s flat.
“It appears to have been given food of all kinds, cat food, bread and water. When we arrived there were little sausages on the floor for it to eat,” Sundström told the newspaper.
However, as Swedish law prohibits the possession of wild animals, the woman’s act of compassion could end up resulting in criminal charges.
After being tipped off about the illicit hedgehog hotel by officials from the County Administrative Board (Länsstyrelsen), police eventually found the prickly animal on the woman’s balcony after a search of her flat.
Two county administrative board veterinarians tagged along with local police to verify the variety of hedgehog, which didn’t appear to have suffered any physical harm form the ordeal.
An African hedgehog is considered a domesticated species and was a trendy house pet a few years ago, explained Sundström.
As it turns out, the spiny creature being cared for by the woman was identified as the standard Swedish variety.
The woman is now suspected of crimes in violation of hunting laws and risks fines or imprisonment for up to one year.
“One shouldn’t go and pick up wild animals anyway. This applies to all wildlife, including birds and eggs,” said Sundström, who added that a landowner is entitled to briefly suspend a wild animal and then must decide to release it or kill it.
After approval from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket), the hedgehog was eventually released back into the wild.
There are 17 species of hedgehog found throughout parts of Europe, Asia, Africa, and New Zealand. The spiny mammals share distant ancestry with shrews and have changed little over the last 15 million years.