Saturday 26 June 2021

Hedgehogs – What Can You Do?

 I thought for a moment it must be a novelty boot scraper, especially as it was just by the front door – but no, it was a genuine, living hedgehog. Living, but strangely torpid, not moving and barely breathing, with its snout poking through the fence into next door's front garden. This was the first living hedgehog I'd seen in these parts for some years, so it was quite exciting – but also worrying, as this was clearly not a well hedgehog. 
  After a while wondering what to do, I scooped the poor thing up onto a sheet of cardboard and moved it into a sheltered position in the shrubbery, even providing a saucer of milk in case it stirred and felt thirsty. A couple of hours later, I came out to have a look, and the hedgehog had gone. Excellent, I thought: it has rallied, come to its senses, and wandered off to resume its urchin* life. But no, as I soon discovered when I came out of the house again: it had only rallied sufficiently to plonk itself on the pavement in a still more exposed position than it was in before. Once again I scooped it up and put it in a safe and secluded place – and once again, as I later discovered, its hedgehog death wish kicked in and it headed straight back to the pavement.
  This, apparently, went on all evening, with concerned passersby carefully returning the hedgehog to safety, only for it to reappear in short order on the pavement. I found this out when, some time after 10 (when, as it happens, I was in my dressing gown and pyjamas following an early bath), a woman from up the road, with a dog on a lead, knocked on the door and told me what had been going on. The hedgehog was, of course, back on the pavement yet again. We debated what to do, and in the end I put the hedgehog in a box and she took it off to her house to see if she could coax it back to something more closely resembling life. She told me that this particular hedgehog was well known on our road and was often seen about the place. Which begged two questions: How come I haven't seen it? And, er, how do you know it's the same hedgehog?
  Anyway, I hope the poor creature recovered – and, it if did, I hope it didn't head straight for the road. 

* 'Urchin' is an archaic (indeed Middle English) word for hedgehog. 


  1. It was probably feeling cold (maybe related to an illness), that's why it kept coming back onto the pavement.

  2. I hate to tell you this, kind hedgehog man, but the consensus is that the creatures should never be given milk. Apparently, they are 'lactose-intolerant', like an awful lot of people nowadays.

  3. Julia – you could well be right, but I'd have thought it was warmer in the shrubbery than out on the pavement. All very odd...
    Mary – a good thing the ungrateful brute didn't touch the milk then! A small snail couldn't resist and ended up drowned, but no doubt happy...

  4. Dear Nigel, Have been looking at your most intresting blog recently. But the hedgehog - never milk! It is fatal. Tesco cat/kitten biscuits or some wet cat food (and water) is fine. And if a hog is out in the day (they are nocturnal of course) it means they are v sick and need to go immediaately to a rescue. If you see another, give me a rng - I might be able to drive to a rescue. Keep bloggin'. All best, Paul

    1. Thanks Paul. Have replied by email...