Illegally abandoned pet hedgehog meets tragic end in Singapore

It's all fun and games until you can't care for it anymore.

He Ruiming | October 11, 2016 @ 08:46 am

A National University of Singapore student Sankar Ananthanarayanan and his four friends were out looking for reptiles along Old Upper Thomson Road, when they discovered a hedgehog in the drain on Oct. 9.

Which might have been cute in certain scenarios, but not this time. Namely because, the hedgehog, a female the duo named “Murtabak”, had a maggot-infested wound and was being attacked by a swarm of ants — neither of which are particularly pleasant.

Approximately where the hedgehog was found.

In a phone interview with Mothership.sg, Sankar said: “We were walking along Old Upper Thomson Road, looking for reptiles and amphibians to relocate into the forest, when my friend pointed out that there was a hedgehog in one of the drains. The hedgehog was crawling around and looked like it might have been there for a day or two.”

Image of Murtabak and her wound (dark area), courtesy of Serin Subaraj

“At first we noticed that the hedgehog’s quills seemed a little bit odd. However, upon closer inspection, we noticed that there were actually maggots squirming in between the quills.” he said.

Sankar subsequently handed Murtabak to ACRES (Animal Concerns Research and Education Society), but the little fella succumbed to her injuries and became yet another statistic in the exotic pet trade.

Why is that so messed up? We’ll let Sankar explain with his Instagram post:

Click this to see his original Instagram post

In case the text is too small, here it is: 

There are SO MANY things that just piss me off about this.

Hedgehogs cannot be legally kept as pets in Singapore. So either this guy was smuggled in or illegally bred locally. Either way, it’s terrible.

If you have a pet, TAKE CARE OF IT. This poor thing was abandoned inside a drain, where it was unable to come out of, at the edge of a NATURE RESERVE.

The worst part, it has a skin injury that’s festering with maggots crawling around inside. Meanwhile, ants are biting it all over. It’s heart wrenching to watch.

(We also included this more structured post by the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) on how keeping hedgehogs is not good for anyone.)


Hedgehogs are illegal in Singapore, which meant Murtabak’s owner probably smuggled her in, or bred her.

It’s also illegal – not to mention extremely dickish – to abandon your pet. Both offences can be charged under the Animals and Birds Act, and offenders face fines of up to S$1,000 and S$15,000 respectively.

Given the nature of the situation, it’s unlikely Murtabak’s owner will ever be caught.

But if karma can inflict on the owner  the pain of being abandoned of being in the middle of nowhere by your most trusted friend with insects eating your flesh while you slowly starve to death for days because you can’t move until a fraction of the pain Murtabak endured, we reckon some animal lovers would be happy.


Really happy.


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About He Ruiming

Ruiming is a freelance writer that has lived in Singapore, Melbourne and Hongkong. When he’s not being snarky on Mothership or waddling waist-deep in deadlines, he finds time for life’s simple pleasures: Teh-O PengLao Gan Ma chilli oil and HBO’s award-winning TV series Game Of Thrones.

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